British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton Leads Raiding British Cavalry Through Louisa County

[Banastre Tarleton, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America (London, 1787), pp. 295-296:]

At this period [June 1781], the superiority of the [British] army, and the great superiority of the light troops, were such as to have enabled the British to traverse the country without apprehension or difficulty, either to destroy stores and tobacco in the neighbourhood of the rivers, or to undertake more important expeditions. While the main body was in Hanover county, and the Marquis de la Fayette lay between them and Fredericksburg, Earl Cornwallis had clear intelligence of the meeting of the governor and assembly at Charlotteville…. To frustrate these intentions, and to distress the Americans, by breaking up the assembly at Charlotteville, and by taking or destroying the arms and other stores at Point of Fork, his Lordship employed Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton [here and below referring to himself in the third person] on the former expedition, as most distant, and on that account more within the reach of cavalry….

Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, with one hundred and eighty dragoons, supported by Captain Champagne of the 23d regiment, and seventy mounted infantry, left the army in the beginning of June, and proceeded between the North and South Anna. The heat of the weather obliged him to refresh his men and horses in the middle of the day: He pressed forwards in the afternoon, halted at eleven near Louisa court house, and remained on a plentiful plantation till two o'clock in the morning [of June 4], at which time he again resumed his march. Before dawn he fell in with twelve waggons that were on their journey [at or near Boswell's Tavern], under a weak guard, from the upper parts of Virginia and Maryland, with arms and clothing for the continental troops in South Carolina. The waggons and stores were burnt, that no time might be lost, or diminution of force made, by giving them an escort.

[Relevant Component(s), National Park Service Thematic Framework: Shaping the Political Landscape--Military Institutions and Activities]

[selected and posted by NGH]

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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