Battle of Cowpens – January 17, 1781


The Battle of Cowpens – Cowpens National Battlefield

Cowpens was founded near the site of a battle fought during the Revolutionary War on January 17, 1781.  Continental Army troops and colonial militia under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan decisively defeated a crack British force – known as the Black Legion – under Lt Colonel Banastre Tarleton. 

The battle draws its name from its site, pastureland and cow pens, reportedly known then as Hannah’s Cow-pens, used by frontier farmers in northwestern South Carolina.  Military historians regard Cowpens as one of the most brilliant tactical operations ever fought on American soil. 

The British losses were staggering:  110 dead, over 200 wounded and 500 captured.

The original battle site is now the Cowpens National Battlefield.  The one and one-quarter acre park was established by Congress on March 4, 1929 under the control of the War Department. 

The National Park Service assumed control on August 10, 1933.  In 1981 the site was increased to 842 acres in size and the NPS spent approximately $5 million to develop and restore the park.


The Cowpens National Battlefield is 11 miles north of I-85 and 2 miles east of Chesnee. 

The entrance is near the intersection of S.C. Hwy 11 and Hwy 110.  

Phone (864) 461-2828

Cowpens National Battlefield – US Dept of Interior