• 18th century tents are set up in a lane.

    Cowpens

    National Battlefield South Carolina

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  • Closed for Federal Holiday

    Cowpens National Battlefield will be closed October 13, 2014 for Columbus Day. The park will reopen at 9:00 on October 14.

Historical Influence

Sweetgum leaf and ball

Sweetgum leaf and ball

“The battle field [sic] was almost a plain with a ravine on both hands, and very little under growth [sic] in front or near us.”
- Thomas Young

Although there were many "cow pens" in the Carolina piedmont area, this one in particular stood out as a rallying point for American Continental soldiers. Cowpens at the time of the battle contained much larger trees than it does today, with little to no understory. These large trees included the white oak, sweetgum, short-leaf pine, and various red oak species. It was said that a man could ride his horse with his arm fully extended upward and still not touch any tree branches. The field and lack of understory in the forest were a result of cattle grazing. Cattle were brought to the cow pens to feed on the native cane species and the pea-vine (most likely one of two Desmodium species still found today on the battlefield).

The cane brakes on the battlefield also played an active role in slowing down the British troops' advancement toward the Continentals.

Did You Know?

John Eager Howard

Baltimore, Maryland is built on land once owned by Lieutenant Colonel John Eager Howard, Continental commander at the Battle of Cowpens.