The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


Continental General Daniel Morgan
Daniel Morgan Born: 1736; Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Died: July 6, 1802; Virginia

Battles: Quebec, Saratoga, Cowpens


"Great generals are scarce--there are few Morgans around."
- Nathanael Greene


Revolutionary War: 1777-1780
Maj. General John Burgoyne attacked Maj. General Horatio Gates' fortifications at the Second Battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights) on October 7, 1777. Gates countered by ordering Colonel Morgan's riflemen and Dearborn's light infantry to cross through the woods to flank Burgoyne's force. Fierce fighting drove the British back to their own fortifications and only darkness saved them from being overrun by the Americans.

After General Burgoyne's surrender on October 17, 1777, Morgan's friendship with General Gates was strained for a time when he refused to support Gates in his efforts to supplant General George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. Morgan rejoined Washington's main army on November 18th. Morgan skirmished and scouted for Washington throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Colonel Morgan missed the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey on June 28, 1778, because Maj. General Charles Lee failed to keep him informed of the main army's movements. He then took temporary command of the ill General William Woodford's Virginia brigade.

Following his first taste of command, Morgan soon learned that a new light infantry brigade was being formed. He longed for the command, but it called for a brigadier general and Morgan was only a colonel. Brig. General Anthony Wayne was without command and looked to be in line for the brigade, but Wayne had not yet to prove himself in the field and Morgan felt that he was more qualified for the command.

General Wayne did receive the command and the Continental Congress passed over Colonel Daniel Morgan for promotion. The standing policy was that a state could only have as many brigadier generals as units supplied by the state and Virginia already had its quota. Morgan offered his resignation from the Army on July 18, 1779, dissatisfied with this Congressional policy. Congress refused his resignation and instead granted a furlough, so he went home.

Following General Gates' appointment to command of the Southern Department on May 7, 1780, Congress ordered Morgan to join Gates in June 1780. After learning of his appointment that same month, Gates wrote Colonel Morgan and asked him to join him. Morgan, however, was now in great pain from sciatica, which had developed in the last year. The sciatica was a result of the cold, wet march to Quebec in 1775. Morgan did meet with General Gates at Battletown, where Morgan asked Gates to recommend to Congress that he be promoted. Morgan also promised to join Gates, but the pain prevented him from heading south with Gates. By September 1780, two months after Gates had written on Morgan's behalf, Congress had still not acted on his promotion.


Southern Campaign: 1780
After he learned that General Gates had been defeated at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780, Morgan put aside his personal feelings and set out for Hillsborough, North Carolina. He arrived in September and on October 2, Gates gave him command of a light infantry corps. On October 13, 1780, Congress finally promoted Morgan to brigadier general. From October to December, Morgan's order from Gates was to scout and campaign between Camden, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina.







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