Washington Light Infantry Monument At The Cowpens
The National Battlefield Park at The Cowpens in South Carolina is a kind of serene place. The terrain is not the same as when the battle was fought there back on January 17th, 1781. Still, you can get a good sense of the land. When you are on the battlefield itself there is not much in the way of monuments. A stark difference compared to other battlefields.
The one exception out on the field is the Washington Light Infantry Monument which is pictured above. Fairly simply, not real gaudy, the pole in the center was topped with a brass eagle. Inside the base are several artifacts. A vial of water from Eutaw Springs (location of another battle later in the war). A brick from a house at Eutaw Springs. A handwritten account of the Battle of Cowpens and a roster of the members of the group that dedicated the memorial.
One of the first monuments dedicated to a battle from the American Revolution in the South, it was built in 1856 by the Washington Light Infantry a South Carolina militia regiment formed in 1807 and named for General George Washington though eventually it would become more closely associated with William Washington, the General’s cousin and a very important Continental Army commander in the war, especially the Southern Campaign.
Built at a time when the nation was starting to come apart, the monument was dedicated on the 75th anniversary of the battle, a move that some hoped would serve as a reminder of the common cause that brought the people together during the revolution. Considering what happened in South Carolina just a few years later, it didn’t really have the desired effect.