Banastre Tarleton | History of SC Slide Collection

Banastre Tarleton

Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833), known to South Carolina revolutionary leaders as "Bloody Tarleton," first came to Charleston as an officer under General Clinton's command in the failed attack on Fort Sullivan in 1776. Four years later, after serving in campaigns in the north, he returned to the south to emerge as a legendary leader of light cavalry. At Camden, at Fishing Creek, and at Kings Mountain, Tarleton was a formidable opponent; it was he that was sent to pursue Francis Marion to prevent the "Swamp Fox" from harassing British supply lines, and according to popular legend, wound up eating a crude meal of sweet potatoes with his enemy (see General Francis Marion, a.k.a. "Swamp Fox"). Defeated decisively at Cowpens in January 1781, Tarleton attempted unsuccessfully to resign his command. At the end of the war, he returned to England, and served as a representative from Liverpool in Parliament. Engraving from a portrait by Ramsey.

Courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum.

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