Fighting in the South during the Revolutionary War had not gone well for the Americans. In 1780, General George Washington ordered one of his most trusted generals, Nathanael Greene, to take charge of the Colonial forces in the Carolinas. Greene realized he did not have the manpower to challenge the British head on. Instead, he opted for guerrilla tactics, where a small force could attack a larger one and then disappear into the surrounding area. He also split his army, giving Brigadier General Daniel Morgan command of a small force. When the British commander, General Charles Lord Cornwallis, learned of Morgan's movements, he sent a force to attack him.
Here is where the story gets interesting. Morgan knew his smaller force was at a disadvantage. He turned to Catherine Moore "Kate" Barry for help. Kate was born and raised in South Carolina. She knew her way around the neighboring countryside. While Morgan prepared to face the British, Kate rode through the backwoods and trails, alerting patriots and militiamen to join Morgan.
The Battle of Cowpens, which took place on January 17, 1781, resulted in a decisive victory for the Americans. Kate's efforts spreading the word and adding to Morgan's force played a large part in that success. By that spring, Cornwallis had pulled back and moved northward toward Virginia. By October, he and the British army were bottled up in Yorktown. Under siege by a combined American and French force, he surrendered on October 19, 1781.
illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll