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Daniel Morgan

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Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1797 – March 3, 1799
Preceded by Robert Rutherford
Succeeded by Robert Page
Personal details
Born July 6, 1736
Hunterdon County
New Jersey
Died July 6, 1802(1802-07-06) (aged 66)
Winchester, Virginia
Resting place Mount Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Abigail Curry[1]
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Continental Army
 United States Army
Years of service 1775–1783; 1794
Rank Brigadier General

American Revolutionary War

Whiskey Rebellion

Daniel Morgan (July 6, 1736 – July 6, 1802) was an American pioneer, soldier, and United States Representative from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion (1791–1794).


  • Early years 1
  • American Revolution 2
    • Invasion of Canada 2.1
    • 11th Virginia Regiment 2.2
    • Saratoga 2.3
      • Freeman's Farm 2.3.1
      • Bemis Heights 2.3.2
    • New Jersey and retirement 2.4
    • Southern Campaign 2.5
      • Battle of Cowpens 2.5.1
  • After the Revolution 3
    • Elections 3.1
  • Legacy 4
  • Footnotes 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Early years

Morgan is believed to have been born in the area of Junction (now Pennsylvania, he moved to the Shenandoah Valley. He finally settled on the Virginia frontier, near what is now Winchester, Virginia.

He worked clearing land, in a sawmill, and as a French and Indian War, with his cousin Daniel Boone.[4] After returning from the advance on Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) by General Braddock's command, he was punished with 499 lashes (a usually fatal sentence) for punching his superior officer. Morgan thus acquired a hatred for the British Army. He then fell in love with Abigail Curry; they married and had two daughters, Nancy and Betsy.

Morgan later served as a rifleman in the provincial forces assigned to protect the western settlements from French-backed Indian raids. Some time after the war, he purchased a farm between Winchester and Battletown. By 1774, he was so prosperous that he owned ten slaves.[5] That year, he served in Dunmore's War, taking part in raids on Shawnee villages in the Ohio Country.

American Revolution

After the American Revolutionary War began at the

Morgan's company had a significant advantage over the others. Instead of the smooth-bore weapons used of most British and most American companies, his men carried guerrilla tactics, first shooting the Indian guides who led the British forces through the rugged terrain. They then targeted the officers. The British Army considered these guerrilla tactics to be dishonorable; however, they created chaos within the British ranks.

Invasion of Canada

Later that year, the Continental Congress authorized an

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Rutherford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Robert Page

External links

  • Babits, Lawrence E. A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens. University of North Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8078-2434-8.
  • Bodie, Idella. The Old Waggoner (Juvenile nonfiction). Sandlapper Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-87844-165-4
  • Calahan, North. Daniel Morgan: Ranger of the Revolution. AMS Press, 1961; ISBN 0-404-09017-6
  • Graham, James The Life of General Daniel Morgan of the Virginia Line of the Army of the United States: with portions of his correspondence. Zebrowski Historical Publishing, 1859; ISBN 1-880484-06-4
  • Higginbotham, Don. Daniel Morgan: Revolutionary Rifleman. University of North Carolina Press, 1961. ISBN 0-8078-1386-9
  • Ketcham, Richard M. Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War. John Macrae/Holt Paperbacks, 1999. ISBN 9780805061239.
  • LaCrosse, Jr., Richard B. Revolutionary Rangers: Daniel Morgan's Riflemen and Their Role on the Northern Frontier, 1778-1783. Heritage Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7884-2052-6.

Further reading

  1. ^ Higginbotham, Don (1979). Daniel Morgan:. UNC Press Books. p. 11.  
  2. ^ Kreis, Anthony M. "By perseverance and fortitude: A Brief History of People and Events of the Township of Bethlehem", Township of Bethlehem. Accessed November 13, 2013. "General Daniel Morgan was a Revolutionary War general and a United States Representative from the State of Virginia. Morgan was born outside of Hampton, New Jersey in 1736."
  3. ^ Edward Morgan Log House, Genealogy, accessed November 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Daniel Boone in Pennsylvania
  5. ^ Higginbotham p.13-15
  6. ^ McCullough, David. 1776 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005) p. 38
  7. ^ Peckham, Howard H. The War for Independence: A Military History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958) p. 30
  8. ^ "Key to the Surrender of General Burgoyne". Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  9. ^ Golway, Terry. Wasgington's General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2005) p. 241
  10. ^ a b Golway, p. 248
  11. ^ Golway, pp. 245-248
  12. ^ Peckham, p. 167
  13. ^ Len Barcousky (March 22, 2009). "Eyewitness 1818: No jail could hold this Pittsburgh thief".  
  14. ^ Higginbotham, pp. 189–91.
  15. ^ Higginbotham, pp. 193–98.
  16. ^ GENi: Gen. Daniel Morgan (Continental Army)
    Daniel Morgan is related to the famous Welsh privateer and pirate, Henry Morgan. Henry was Daniel's great-great-grandfather Edward Morgan's nephew.
  17. ^ [3]United States History: Morgan's Raiders
    His father claimed to be a descendant of the Revolutionary War hero, Daniel Morgan.
  18. ^ GENi: Brig. General John Hunt Morgan (CSA)
    It is said that he was a lineal descendant of Daniel Morgan, of Revolutionary fame.
  19. ^ Daniel Morgan Middle School - Winchester Public Schools
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 2/04/13 through 2/08/13. National Park Service. 2013-02-15. 
  22. ^ "Saratoga National Historical Park". Revolutionary Day. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 


A statue of Morgan is on the west face of the Saratoga Monument in Schuylerville NY.[22]

In the early 1780s, Morgan joined efforts with Col. Nathaniel Burwell to build a water-powered mill in Millwood, Virginia. The Burwell-Morgan Mill is open as a museum and is one of the oldest, most original operational grist mills in the country.

The National Register of Historic Places in 2013.[21]

In Winchester, Virginia, a middle school is named in his honor.[19] There is also a graduate school in the District of Columbia named in his honor.[20]

There is a street named after him in Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Morgan and his actions served as one of the key sources for the fictional character of Benjamin Martin in The Patriot, a motion picture released in 2000.

In 1973, the home Saratoga was declared a National Historic Landmark.

In the early 1950s, an attempt was made to reinter his body in Cowpens, but the Frederick-Winchester Historical Society blocked the move by securing an injunction in circuit court. The event was pictured by a staged photo that appeared in Life magazine.

In 1881 (on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens), a statue of Morgan was placed in the central town square of Spartanburg, South Carolina. It is located in Morgan Square and remains in place today.

In 1821 Virginia named a new county—Presley O'Bannon, the "Hero of Derna" in the Barbary War, acquired the land, drew up a plan for the town and donated the land for the streets and public square.

[18][17] Daniel Morgan's great-great-grandfather was also the uncle of the famous Welsh privateer and pirate,


Morgan was elected with 64.94% of the vote, defeating Democratic-Republican Robert Rutherford.



Morgan ran for election to the American Civil War.

In 1794 he was briefly recalled to national service to help suppress the Meriwether Lewis.[15]

After resigning his commission at age 46, Morgan returned home to Charles Town, having served 6½ years. He turned his attention to investing in land, rather than clearing it, and eventually built an estate of more than 250,000 acres (1,000 km2). As part of his settling down in 1782, he joined the Presbyterian Church and, using Hessian prisoners of war, built a new house near Winchester, Virginia. He named the home Saratoga after his victory in New York. The Congress awarded him a gold medal in 1790 to commemorate his victory at Cowpens.[13]

North Daniel Morgan Avenue sign in Spartanburg
Morgan Square in Spartanburg
Statue of General Morgan erected in 1881 in Spartanburg, South Carolina
The grave of Daniel Morgan in Winchester, Virginia
Daniel Morgan House in Winchester where he died in 1802

After the Revolution

Cornwallis had lost not only Tarleton's legion, but also his light infantry, which limited his speed of reaction for the rest of the campaign. For his actions, Virginia gave Morgan land and an estate that had been abandoned by a Tory. The damp and chill of the campaign had aggravated his Lafayette to pursue Banastre Tarleton once more, this time in Virginia, but they were unsuccessful.[12]

[11] The tactic resulted in a

Morgan's plan took advantage of Tarleton's tendency for quick action and his disdain for the militia,[10] as well as the longer range and accuracy of his Virginia riflemen. The marksmen were positioned to the front, followed by the militia, with the regulars at the hilltop. The first two units were to withdraw as soon as they were seriously threatened, but after inflicting damage. This would invite a premature charge from the British.

Morgan chose to make his stand at Andrew Pickens and William Washington's dragoons. Tarleton's legion was supplemented with the light infantry from several regiments of regulars.

Medal voted for Morgan by Congress

Battle of Cowpens

When this strategy became apparent, the British General Cornwallis sent Colonel Banastre Tarleton's British Legion to track him down. Morgan talked with many of the militia who had fought Tarleton before, and decided to disobey his orders, by setting up a direct confrontation.

Morgan met his new Department Commander, South Carolina, while avoiding direct battle.[9]

He met Gates at Hillsborough, and was given command of the light infantry corps on Oct. 2. At last, on Oct. 13, 1780, Morgan received his promotion to brigadier general.

"Lieutenant-Colonel Banastre Tarleton" by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Southern Campaign

In June 1780, he was urged to re-enter the service by General Gates, but declined. Gates was taking command in the Southern Department, and Morgan felt that being outranked by so many militia officers would limit his usefulness. After Gates' disaster at the Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Throughout this period, Morgan became increasingly dissatisfied with the army and the Congress. He had never been politically active or cultivated a relationship with the Congress. As a result, he was repeatedly passed over for promotion to brigadier, favor going to men with less combat experience but better political connections. While still a colonel with Washington, he had temporarily commanded Weedon's brigade, and felt himself ready for the position. Besides this frustration, his legs and back aggravated him from the abuse taken during the Quebec Expedition. He was finally allowed to resign on June 30, 1779, and returned home to Winchester.

After Saratoga, Morgan's unit rejoined Washington's main army, near 7th Virginia Regiment.

New Jersey and retirement

During the next week, as Burgoyne dug in, Morgan and his men moved to his north. Their ability to cut up any patrols sent in their direction convinced the British that retreat was not possible.

With Fraser mortally wounded, the British light infantry fell back into and through the Saratoga, New York (renamed Schuylerville in honor of Philip Schuyler) about eight miles to the northwest.

Burgoyne's next offensive resulted in the Timothy Murphy obliged him.

Bemis Heights Morgan's men charged without orders, but the charge fell apart when they ran into the main column led by General

Morgan led his regiment, with the added support of Henry Dearborn's 300-man New Hampshire infantry, as the advance to the main forces. At Freeman's Farm, they ran into the advance of General Simon Fraser's wing of Burgoyne's force. Every officer in the British advance party died in the first exchange, and the advance guard retreated.

Freeman's Farm

A detachment of Morgan's regiment, commanded by Morgan, was reassigned to the army's Northern Department and on Aug. 30 he joined General Horatio Gates to aid in resisting Burgoyne's offensive. He is prominently depicted in the painting of the Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John Trumbull.[8]

Surrender of General Burgoyne
Col. Morgan is shown in white, right of center


On June 13, 1777, Morgan was given command of the Provisional Rifle Corps, a New Jersey.

When he rejoined Washington early in 1777, Morgan was surprised to learn he had been promoted to colonel for his bravery at Quebec. He was ordered to raise and command a new infantry regiment, the 11th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line.

11th Virginia Regiment Arnold attacked against the lower city from the north, but he suffered a leg wound early in the battle. Morgan took command of the force, and he successfully overcame the first rampart and entered the city. Montgomery's force initiated their attack as the blizzard became severe, and Montgomery and many of his troops, except for

The Arnold Expedition started about 1,000 men; by the time they reached Quebec on November 9, that had been reduced to 600. (Note: historians have never reached a consensus on the use of a standard name for this epic journey.) When Montgomery's men arrived, they launched a joint assault. The Battle of Quebec began on the morning of December 31. The Patriots attacked in two pincers, commanded by Montgomery and Arnold.


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