The National Park Service is charged with protecting and preserving the place where Daniel Morgan, commanding the American forces, defeated the British under Banastre Tarleton. This includes restoring the battlefield to its 1781 appearance. The way the participants described it in their writings gives us an idea of how it looked at the time:
Fifty-four years after the Battle of Cowpens, historian Benjamin F. Perry wrote that "there was no growth on the battle ground, & objects might be seen at a great distance through the woods…"
In 1781, the upcountry of South Carolina had many cow pens, places where cattle grazed before being driven to market. The area was lush with pea vines and native cane which the cattle foraged. After the battle, the land was farmed, and people built homesites, changing the type of flora as they cultivated different plants that they found on their travels.
We can now document 542 different species of plants at Cowpens National Battlefield, of which 151 are not native. Of these, at least 34 are considered to be highly aggressive and a danger to the native species. Park staff is removing exotic species and reintroducing native species as a part of the battlefield restoration.
Did You Know?
The Battle of Cowpens, fought by the Americans and British on January 17, 1781, lasted less than an hour.