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Cowpens Flag (U.S.)


Last modified: 2005-12-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | cowpens | circle | third maryland regiment | maryland |
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[U.S. 13 star Cowpens flag 1777 ]
image by Rick Wyatt, 9 July 2001
[U.S. 13 star Cowpens flag 1777 ]
image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 10 August 2001

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American hopes were at a low point at the start of 1781. That changed, however, on January 17, when General Daniel Morgan won one of the most brilliant victories of the Revolutionary War at Cowpens, South Carolina. With the help of Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia regiments, Morgan stopped the attacking British dead in their tracks. Trapped by the cavalry and the militia, the surrounded British soon relented. This flag of the Third Maryland Regiment, which was present that day at Cowpens, is now enshrined in the State Capitol in Annapolis, Maryland in honor of that battle.

Source: National Flag Foundation Newsletter.
Rick Wyatt, 9 July 2001

According to Richardson's book on American Revolutionary war flags, the 3rd Maryland was consolidated with other units to form a composite brigade at Cowpens due to the defeat suffered at Camden earlier. This unit, along with a few others, carried the Stars and Stripes without authorization, which was not granted to U.S. combat units until 1834, 1841 and 1862 respectively for artillery, infantry and cavalry units.

In the film "The Patriot" Mel Gibson, at the battle that is supposed to be Cowpens, is seen carrying a flag that is the typical 13 stars in a circle (alleged Betsy Ross flag). All they needed to do to get it right was to make it a copy of the 3rd Maryland colors.

Greg Biggs, 9 July 2001