Daniel Morgan

Commander of Continental Army Wing

Biography

Painting of Daniel MorganDaniel Morgan was a big brawler of a man, affectionately known as “Old Wagoner” by his troops because of an early job driving supplies across the mountains. He served with the British in the French & Indian War, but got in trouble for sassing an officer and received 500 lashes. This normally killed the victim, but he survived. In fact, he later claimed they had only given him 499 and owed him one! Morgan was also shot in combat, the musket ball passing from his neck forward through his left cheek, taking out some teeth. When the Revolution broke out, he was made a captain of a rifle company, and he adopted Native American tactics—and clothing. Those tactics were instrumental in winning the Battle of Saratoga (N.Y.), but he resigned from the army when passed over for promotion. He later turned down command of the southern army because it did not include a promotion. Yet he rejoined the army in 1780 after its major defeat at the Battle of Camden (S.C.). When new commander Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene decided to split his army, he placed Morgan in charge of the western wing. Morgan won a brilliant tactical victory at the Battle of Cowpens (S.C.), and directed a successful retreat to rejoin Greene in Salisbury, part of the Race to the Dan. Debilitated by severe sciatica, he made the trip via painful wagon ride, and the condition forced him to retire at that point. After the war Morgan helped Pres. George Washington put down a rebellion in the northeast and served in Congress. He died at 67 in 1802 in Winchester, Va. Morganton is named for him.

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