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Fireworks Display at Cowpens Battlefield
Cowpens Battlefield 4th of July Fireworks

Cowpens Battlefield July 4th Event

This annual celebration of the nation's birth takes place at Cowpens National Battlefield, a National Park Service area, site of the 1781 Revolutionary War battle which played a crucial role in the creation of our nation. The decisive Patriot victory at Cowpens during the Southern Campaign was the "great encourager" which inspired the patriots to continue the war to victory at Yorktown, and it is considered by some military historians to be the most brilliantly orchestrated and fought single battle of the American Revolution. Deriving its name from the "cow pasture" of the colonial farmers who brought their cattle to form herds to drive to market, Cowpens was the site of the defeat of the left wing of Cornwallis' army by Gen. Daniel Morgan's Patriot army on January 17, 1781. On this day, on this battlefield, the British lost nearly 85% of their forces committed to action. So great was the joy of the Continental Congress when they heard of this complete rout of British Col. Banastre Tarleton's forces, they issued three good medals to participants in the battle. Only twelve such medals were issued during the entire eight years of the American Revolutionary War.

Costumed interpreters in period clothing and replicas of colonial-era tents and equipment re-create an atmosphere of colonial life with its sights and smells. Cannoneers, also in colonial dress, demonstrate the various loading procedures necessary to prepare the three-pounder "grasshopper" cannon for firing. When fired, the boom of the cannon and the vibration of the earth, along with the flames and smoke, smell and taste of gun powder, give visitors a small sampling of what battle in the 18th century was like. The day's celebration includes colonial-era music, and costumed actors who present other characters of significance in Revolutionary War history, including Lord Cornwallis and Thomas Paine. Contemporary music, including rock n' roll and jazz, is also performed. To end the day's festivities, it has become a tradition for the South Carolina 246th Army National Guard Band to play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture; its musical climax is accompanied by a brilliant fireworks display.

The project is documented with an eight-page written account of the July 4th Event at Cowpens, 18 slides and six 8 x 10 photographs and their accompanying descriptions.

Originally submitted by: Jim DeMint, Representative (4th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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