Skip to comments.Rare Revolutionary War battle flags returning to U.S.
Posted on 12/22/2007 6:16:14 AM PST by Pharmboy
The regimental flag of the Continental Army 2nd Light Dragoons, also known as
Sheldon's Horse, was captured by British cavalry led by Banestre Tarleton in the 1779
Battle of Pound Ridge. (December 21, 2007)
WILLIAMSBURG - Four rare American battle flags captured by the British during the Revolutionary War will get their first extended public homecoming Saturday in a new exhibit at The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
Taken as trophies more than 225 years ago, the unusually well-preserved banners remained in the family of notorious British cavalry leader Banestre Tarleton until being sold at auction to a private owner last year.
They will be displayed alongside an evocative collection of Revolutionary War-era firearms and cavalry swords in an exhibit called "Captured Colors: Four Battleflags of the American Revolution."
(Excerpt) Read more at dailypress.com ...
We may need them again.
Back where they belong.
While that was my first thought as well, especially as one who grew up in Valley Forge, I have second thoughts.
Given the current trend of affairs and sentiment in this country, perhaps they are safer in private hands.
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The flags are indeed owned privately, but through the generosity of the owner will be displayed.
Very kewl. Thanx.
I would encourage you folks to click through to the article. The curator of the museum has some interesting remarks to make and notes that one of the flags has blood on it, likely that of the ensign who died defending it.
ping to self. I need to drive down there.
Tarleton the Butcher died of old age in his bed.
What a shame!
Yep. Too bad it was Ferguson and not Tarleton at King’s Mountain!
Every school bus within driving distance needs to be packed to the gills and headed to see these flags when they go on display.
Thanks Pharmboy. I wondered what this meant:
“notorious British cavalry leader Banestre Tarleton”
Found this hissy fit:
“Yes, Tarleton was a ruthless soldier,” Clein added, “but the film goes a lot farther than that and assassinates his character altogether.”
No evidence exists that Tarleton was involved in infanticide or any incidents such as the church arson and murders, said Scott Withrow, historian at South Carolina’s Cowpens National Battlefield, where the Redcoats were defeated in 1781.
“As far as I know, it did not happen,” said Withrow, though he noted Tarleton had a reputation for brutality. “Somehow the Patriot forces latched onto Tarleton and used him for propaganda. The Patriot army were masters of this at that time and they built him up as a hated person.”
These two are from an American source:
...Rejecting Tarleton’s demand for his surrender, Col. Abraham Buford held his troops’ fire until it was too late, then watched as the overwhelming British charge wrenched his position into chaos...
...”So prized were these hard-won banners that Tarleton sent them back to England long before he surrendered 18 months later as part of the devastating British defeat at Yorktown.”
Three years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. What a quagmire!
Indeed, Ferguson was a gentleman. He once had an opportunity to kill Gen. Washington from ambush using his famous rifle, but his conscience forebade it and he spared Washington’s life. A noble adversary, surely.
It was said that he gave no quarter to Patriots who surrended, and afterwards the Patriots called for no quarter to the Brits and referred to it as "Tarleton's Quarter."
The RevWar had its particularly bloody and cruel moments (not the least of which were the 10,000 or so deaths of Patriots in the British prison ships in Wallabout Bay in NYC).
Given the sanctimony and self-righteousness seen in at least one quote in that hissy fit linked above, this British source turned out to be amusing and ironic:
...”Tarleton boasts,” Horace Walpole reported, “of having butchered more men and lain with more women than anyone in the army.” In Reynolds’ studio he encountered the actress Mary Robinson, always known to the world, after a radiant performance in Sheridan’s production of The Winter’s Tale, as Perdita. She had recently been the mistress of the 17-year-old Prince of Wales - the one who became George IV. Someone had bet Tarleton that he couldn’t seduce her, and he didn’t lose bets like that. They stayed more or less together through 15 turbulent years, but often he made life hard for her. In 1783, desperate to escape from his creditors, he suddenly left for France. Perdita, who was pregnant, set off in pursuit. On the way she miscarried, and was left partly paralysed, which ended her stage career. But by now she was also established as a novelist and poet: her output, punctuated by adoring tributes to Tarleton, was successful enough to help pay his debts... The issue that roused him most was slavery. Tarleton was fervently for it. He argued that the economy of Liverpool would be ruined without it (his own family had made its fortune out of the slave trade) and maintained that, in any case, the slaves themselves were happy with their condition. “The common sense of the empire,” he claimed, “will strangle this modern attempt at mistaken philanthropy.” In time he broke with Perdita, whose bitterness against him permeated the rest of her life. Then, in his mid-40s, he married a girl of 20 - more specifically a rich girl of 20... The flags he had captured in the days of his glory remained in his family’s keeping. Captain Christopher Tarleton Fagan, who is selling them now, is his great-great-great-great-nephew. He’s sorry to let them go, he told an American newspaper, but he can no longer afford the insurance. [from 2006]
from the National Park Service:
Traditionally, Tarleton was seen as a “butcher” when , it was said, America forces under Buford laid down their arms in an attempt to surrender yet the British continued their assault. From then on, his reputation grew and “Tarleton’s quarter”13, in effect, came to mean “no quarter.”
“Tarleton’s quarter” was to become a rallying cry at the Battle of Cowpens. Tarleton, then only twenty-six, had been charged with covering the Carolina upcountry against Patriot guerillas. Specifically, he was to seek out and destroy a threat to his rear, a wing of the American Southern Army, commanded by General Daniel Morgan. By January 12, 1781, he was closing in on Morgan, pushing his men on, fording the rain-swollen Enoree, Tyger, and Pacolet Rivers. Morgan, on the other hand, suddenly halted a desperate retreat, was joined by more militia, and parlayed the fear and hatred of Tarleton into victory at Cowpens in the South Carolina Upcountry.
At Cowpens, January 17, 1781, Morgan appeared to take into account Tarleton’s tendency to rush the attack. His collapsing lines (skirmishers, militia, and Continentals14) brought the tired (having marched since two in the morning) but confident British in prematurely, in effect, exposing them to heavy fire. As the Continentals pinned the British down, militia cavalry would crush them in a flank attack. A mistaken command to retreat drew the British in even more, and, when the retreat was stopped, the Continental line turned and fired with devastating results. In the ensuing panic, the American cavalry, already engaged in battle, flanked the British left, leading to double envelopment and victory and a turning point in the war in the South.
At battle’s end, American cavalry leader William Washington, in mad pursuit of the defiant Tarleton along the Green River Road, engaged the British commander in a dramatic hand-to-hand encounter, in which Washington barely escaped with his life. With the approach of American riflemen, Tarleton, with fifty-four of his supporters, abandoned the battle and fled east toward the British camp, never to be caught up with.
Tarleton would draw criticism from older officers who believed he lacked “military maturity.” Held by some to be personally responsible for the death of some fine officers and veteran troops, Tarleton subsequently submitted his resignation but it was not accepted.
[okay, I hate him now, too. Figures that his resignation was not accepted — the Crown needed a butcher to do its hideous bidding]
> the character “Tavington”
The movie didn’t even use the guy’s name? So, IOW, the dolts over the Pond are complaining about nothin’? It was a movie, it wasn’t a documentary. I mean, “The Gladiator” had an actual emperor’s name, and I think the sister’s name is correct, but in reality, he executed her, not the other way around. :’) He wound up getting killed by his wife’s lover, I think while he was bathing. :’D Michael Grant writes that “Commodus had something wrong with his groin.” Heh...
That's ... that's it? And over the fog of years, FReepers are certain that every single American stopped shooting, and that there was no possibility of genuine confusion? Wow, Tarleton must have been Ghengis Khan's evil twin.
Yeah, but Tarleton had to flee for his life after Daniel Morgan kicked his a*s at the Cowpens [Hannah’s Cowpens, I believe, is the correrct name]. His American Legion and British troops were almost annihilated.
Indeed ... a 17th century war criminal was Tarleton the Butcher.
Well said, Gritty. And no truer words could be spoken...
The script originally called for exact names and places, but was partly changed so as to allow the freedom to condense the events a bit, or else face large editing cuts to squeeze the script into the time allowed for the movies.
They could have used exact names in the final film, but then it would have been inaccurate.
Here's more from Wiki on the other General Washington:
William Washington was elected a Captain of Stafford County Minutemen on September 12, 1775 and, with his company, was integrated into the 3rd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line on February 25, 1776. His first combat was the Battle of Harlem Heights on September 14, 1776, during which he may have been wounded by enemy musket fire. After marching north with his unit later in the year, at the Battle of Trenton Captain Washington led a successful assault under command of Nathanael Greene into the town. Captain Washington assaulted the Hessian pickets, and with Lieutenant James Monroe (the future President of the United States) of William Washingtons same company, Washington captured two enemy cannon on King Street. Captain Washington also received another wound in the hand during the Battle of Trenton, and received thanks from Commander-in-Chief General George Washington. Captain Washington saw some more combat action, but these were his last infantry actions.
After his infantry assignments Captain William Washington found himself in command with horse troops. On January 27, 1777 Captain Washington was promoted to the rank of Major and assigned to the 4th Continental Light Dragoons. Soon afterwards he was assigned to Colonel George Baylors 3rd Continental Light Dragoons as the second-in-command. The 3rd Light Dragoons was mauled by the British in a combat called Baylors Massacre at River Vale and Old Tappan, New Jersey, on September 27 - September 28, 1778. Only 55 men survived the massacre who were not killed or captured. After attempting to restore morale Major William Washington was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and he was placed in command of the 3rd Light Dragoon Regiment on November 20, 1778. Afterward, Washingtons unit was transferred to the Southern theatre of war, and was ordered to join the patriot forces of Major General Benjamin Lincoln in Charleston. By March 1780, Washingtons regiment was detached with the light forces near Moncks Corner to reconnoiter and screen against the advancing enemy. On March 26, 1780 he had his first encounter with the fearsome British Legion under command of Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, and stalemated him near Rantowle's Bridge on the Stono River in South Carolina. Afterward at Ashley River during the fight at Rutledges Plantation on March 26, 1780 Lt. Col Washington bested Tarletons dragoons and infantry. Tarleton routed the American rebel force on April 14, 1780 that was under command of General Huger at Moncks Corner and Washington and his remaining troops were forced to flee across the Santee River to escape capture. Washingtons forces were again defeated at Lenuds Ferry on May 5, 1780.
The main American Southern army was defeated at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, 1780 and opened up the South to British control. William Washington was placed under the command of General Daniel Morgan. Under General Morgan he participated in a series of raids in the western part of South Carolina. Two notable successes of the raids by Washington was the capture of Rugeley's Mill near Camden on December 4, 1780, and the defeat of a marauding band of Tories at Hammond's Old Store in the Little River District on December 27-31, 1780. At Rugeleys Mill Washington with 60 troops bluffed the Tories into surrendering the defended fortified homestead defended by over 100 men without firing a shot. Lt. Col. Washingtons men rolled up a tree trunk made to look like an artillery piece to the front gates and demanded a surrender, and the Tories surrendered. At Hammonds Store Washington routed 250 Georgia Loyalists, killing or wounding 150 of them, and taking prisoner 40 enemy troops. After the British defeat at Hammonds Mill Tarleton and his notorious Green Dragoons were ordered to chase down Washington and General Morgan leading to the Battle of Cowpens.
On January 17, 1781, the Battle of Cowpens took place. Lt. Col. William Washingtons 80 dragoons in conjunction with 45 Georgia mounted infantry attacked the enemys rear and right when the battle seemed to have faulted for the British. The attack by Washington was a decisive blow bringing a rebel patriot victory. Tarleton retreated with Lt. Col. Washingtons force in close pursuit. The British and Rebel colonels faced each other in combat. In a saber combat between the colonels Washington managed to wound Tarletons right hand, and Tarleton managed to crease Washingtons knee with a pistol shot and wounded his horse. The British retreated as more Rebel soldiers showed up to the lost British victory, and the Battle of Cowpens was completed as an American rebel victory. For his valor and victory at Cowpens Washington received a silver medal awarded by the Continental Congress executed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson. The unique silver medal was designed by French medallic artists Du Pre and De Vivier. The silver medal was treasured by William Washington for the remainder of his life. (A British version of this Duel can be found under Chapter 33 Year 1781 .)
After the Battle of Cowpens William Washingtons cavalry assisted the retreat of General Greene to Dan River in Virginia by keeping Lord Cornwallis and his British forces at bay. Afterward, Washington and Greene returned to North Carolina and became the vanguard of the American Southern Army.
On March 15, 1781, the Battle of Guildford Court House took place. The sanguine conflict was between General Greene and Lord Cornwallis. Through an error in communications on the battlefield the American forces retreated without orders due in part that Washington dismounted to retrieve his hat during an assault causing his troops to lose sight of him, and an opportunity to capture Lord Cornwallis with a cavalry charge by William Washington is said to have been lost.
On April 25, 1781, the Battle of Hobkirk Hill took place. General Greene was attacked by the British General Rawdon. William Washington was ordered to attack General Rawdons flank. Washington was unable to flank General Rawdons forces and join the main fight due to collecting prisoners. Unable to flank General Rawdon, then General Greene retreated and the American victory was lost. It is reported that Washingtons military reputation was tarnished for his poor performance in the fight (unable to flank and join the main fight) due to a report that his troops looted and gathered booty behind the British lines. The Americans lost, and they did not like the lack of conflict from Washington.
On September 8, 1781, the Battle of Eutaw Springs took place. This was the last major battle in the lower South and the last battle for William Washington. Midway through the battle General Greene ordered William Washington to charge a portion of the British line situated in a thicket alongside Eutaw Creek. During the attack the thickets proved difficult and the British small arms fire proved deadly. During the last charge Washingtons horse was shot out from under him, and while he was trapped underneath his horse he was bayoneted by a British soldier. Washington was taken prisoner by the British and remained a prisoner for the remainder of the American Revolution. Washington was held prisoner-of-war in the Charleston area.
The British commander in the South, Lord Cornwallis, would later comment that there could be no more formidable antagonist in a charge, at the head of his cavalry, than Colonel William Washington.
>We may need them again.
Given today’s multi cultural, diversity is strength, bullcrap ridden PC society, we here would be among the very few defenders of them.
Green and Morgan were actual (minor) characters in the movie. I always thought he was mostly Marion.
Keep yer powder dry, lads...
Merry Christmas, Pharmboy. Thanks for the post. -bill
I'm sure some kind soul will set me straight--I believe that the People's Commonwealth of Massachusetts has put a gun lock on a Revolutionary War firearm in the state capitol.
Exactly, why would they?
that’s why I thought this was a hoot:
“With their own record of killing 12 million American Indians and supporting slavery for four decades after the British abolished it, Americans wish to project their historical guilt onto someone else,” historian Andrew Roberts wrote in the Daily Express newspaper.
“Given todays multi cultural, diversity is strength, bullcrap ridden PC society, we here would be among the very few defenders of them.”
These are the reasons that working at an institute of higher education is so difficult to cope with. Have you seen the game called Bullshit Bingo? The game involves listening to adminstrators use the hackneyed phrases and PC buzzwords until somebody in the crowd bingoes. And, the worst of it is that admin thinks they are so clever. Puking on this tripe is almost a weekly occurrence.
At cowpens, Banastre ran like a little bunny.
Since there were about 1 million Indians in North America when Columbus landed, and rather more than that now, and since the men and women landed in North America had, and have had better lives and longer than their siblings left behind who sold the slaves to the slave shippers...
Perhaps we don’t have historical guilt. Perhaps we have serious mitsvah points.
This aspect of his persona was portrayed extremely well in the recent movie "Amazing Grace" which was about William Wilberforce's role in the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. The actor who played Tarleton, Ciaran Hinds, did an outstanding job, just as he did in his role as Julius Caesar in the HBO/BBC television series "Rome".
The story of the philosophy and actions that lead up to and through our revolution and the establishment of our nation on a firm footing is one that has been obscured and ignored by our education system and our media. Every once in a great while the light shines trough such as the A&E TV movie “The Crossing”. Our children are purposefully being dumbed down into easy to handle chattle instead of being molded into free thinking individuals.
While I was attending some training at Ft. Monmouth, NJ in the early 70’s one of our training officers was a NATO exchange officer. One day he boasted to us that his regiment still had the American battle flag that had flown over Bunker Hill. One hard charging infantry officer in our class from Boston was quick to point out that we still had the hill.
I LOVE that show; Hinds’ portrayal of Caesar may be the best by anyone, ever.
In the movie, Gibson’s the one who sells Green on using the militia in the climatic battle. That was Green at Guilford Court House. He then goes around to the militia guys and talks to them the night before the battle, telling them what he wants. That’s Morgan. The battle itself, in the movie, is a variant of the Cowpens [the militia retreat draws an attack by the Brits, who then come under fire from regulars, and get hit again by the militia], and Guilford Court House [Cornwallis fires into his own men].
Dead Old Guys ping
Too bad that the Brits have turned over their colors to Brussels without so much as a fight.
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