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A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens
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A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The battle of Cowpens was a crucial turning point in the Revolutionary War in the South and stands as perhaps the finest American tactical demonstration of the entire war. On 17 January 1781, Daniel Morgan's force of Continental troops and militia routed British regulars and Loyalists under the command of Banastre Tarleton. The victory at Cowpens helped put the British arm ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 26th 2001 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  241 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Lawrence Babits' Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens is an impressive work of research. Depending heavily upon pension records and first-hand accounts, Babits uncovered aspects of the battle long forgotten or misunderstood. Unfortunately, the incredible detail of the account makes for poor narrative flow. The battle narrative is obscured by the fog of details. Many aspects of the engagement are simply overly-analyzed, such as the long discourse on the number of steps troops took in a certain num ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book as an updated history of the Battle of Cowpens. Although the author spends some time placing the Battle of Cowpens into the larger context of the American Revolution in the South from the British captures of Savannah & Charleston to Yorktown, I recommend that you read "The Road to Guilford Courthouse" to get a better sense of how the Battles of Cowpens and Kings Mountain fit into the bigger picture.

This book is different than previous histories of Cow
Paul Haspel
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you learned everything you might need to know about the American Revolution's Battle of Cowpens by watching the Roland Emmerich movie The Patriot (2000). I mention this only because the University of North Carolina Press edition of Lawrence Babits's A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens that I have before me bears across the bottom of the front cover a brief statement to the effect that Cowpens is "The real-life battle and heroes that inspired the movie The Patriot." Well ...more
Daniel Tipton
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had to read this for my Military History class. Definitely not something I'd read on my own, but it was interesting and informative. If you like detailed descriptions of battle and tactics, this definitely a good choice for you. Personsonally, I prefer character study over battle study. There is some insight into Gen Morgan's character and leadership style, but it's definitely more about the battle than its leader.
Apr 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Nathanael Greene and Daniel Morgan are my heroes.
Anson Cassel Mills
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This scholarly book is an exceptionally well-researched, virtually definitive account of the brief but crucial Battle of Cowpens (January 17, 1781) that marked the beginning of the end for Cornwallis’s army in America. It is an invaluable guide for any student of the American Revolution or serious visitor to Cowpens National Battlefield.

Nevertheless, the prospective reader should be warned that the author often goes pretty deeply into the weeds about information he has learned from pension reco
Steven Hancock
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A finely-researched study of a pivotal battle of the American Revolution, but is a slight victim of “information overload,” which makes it a fairly dry read. Still, it’s an indispensable book for Revolutionary War study. Grade: B+
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
A very academic treatment of the subject with lots and lots of names, statistics, titles, ranks, and dates. Sometimes difficult to get through.
Derrick Lapp
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the first military histories of the War for Independence to make extensive use of the pension records in the National Archives. Exceptional book.
Jack Urban
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A detailed description of the battle that turned out to be the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War in the South. By this point, experience with British tactical preferences plus superior knowledge of the terrain gave the American troops the edge, but it was a near thing.
Josh Liller
The wonderfully titled "Devil Of A Whipping" is the story of the 1781 Battle of Cowpens. This might be the best known battle in the American Revolution south of Yorktown, although since 2000 this is due in no small part to "The Patriot" which features Cowpens in the climactic battle. Like everything in that movie, the battle depicted on screen only loosely resembles the historical one.

I was familiar with the basics of this battle, having read several books about the American Revoluti
Miles Mathews
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lawrence E. Babits' book "Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens" is an exciting and well written book! It is no secret that Cowpens was one of the most important battles in the South during the American Revolution, and it was a tactical masterpiece which resulted in the disintegration of a British Army in the face of a U.S. Army principally comprised of militia - something that few would have thought possible in the early years of the Revolutionary War. That the British army was led by the ...more
James Spurgeon
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the Battle of Cowpens. This books breaks down each segment of the battle complete with maps to help visualize troop movements. The battle didn't last long but its far-reaching effect would be known by the end of the year.

Savannah and Charleston had fallen and the British Army was prepared to move inland and sweep through the South and reclaim their lost colonies and bring an end to the war. The first kink in their plan came at the Battle of King's Mountain, but i
Jason Munson
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I will start by saying that this is clearly a 5 star book and it frustrates me to see some of these reviews and what they say about this book. This is the definitive book on the Battle of Cowpens and this is exactly how a history book should chronicle a battle. Yes, there are details and no you are not bogged down by them, if you feel this way as a reader then you really were not interested in learning about the subject matter to begin with. During the American Revolution, there was no more soun ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this whole book in one night after visiting, and thoroughly exploring the National Battlefield Park where the Battle of Cowpens was fought near present day Spartanburg, South Carolina. I found it gripping, and a supurb example of 'the new military history'. I can't say it better than the description on the dust jacket, so to quote "On January 17,1781, in a pasture in South Carolina, Daniel Morgan's army of Continental troops and militia routed an elite British force under the command of t ...more
Joshua Horn
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a very good and thorough account of Cowpens - an interesting and important Revolutionary war battle. He approaches the battle in a very thorough way, and really helps you understand what happened and why, on a tactical level. You can drop yourself right into the action, knowing how many volleys were likely fired, and how many minutes it took.

Where this book falls short is in a broader explanation of the campaign, which is too short, and in getting mired in useless details, like a list o
Dan Clark
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Best work of historical academic work I've ever read. The author painstakingly examines every aspect of the battle. This attention to detail enables him to clearly portray what actually happened that winter day. If you are a history buff...this is a must read, if only to discover how it ought to be done.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very detailed book on Cowpens, with plenty of maps, With the detailed analysis of the American army and unit strengths in chapter 2, it might have been easier to keep the various units of the American army straight if the author included an order of battle down to the company level, with the names of the unit's commander.
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Well written and descriptive coverage of the Battle of Cowpens. Author was most concerned about detailing factual evidence (thus we get firing orders and statistics on how many people were at the battle based on pension records), so there's room for a more 'popular' history of the battle. Just don't let Mel Gibson or Dean Devlin near it.
Mike Emett
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Though finally detailed and full of end notes this book is DEFINITIVE! I better understand.... everything about the battle; be it geography, tactics, how it started and so forth. A recommended read for historians and reenactors and those in love with American History.
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Babits tells the story of an important Revolutionary War battle in this highly readable book. He deserves kudos for vividly recreating an important but largely forgotten episode in our struggle for independence.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The best account of the Battle of Cowpens I have seen. very detailed on minute but important aspects of the battle. Detailed accound down to sabre cuts. my favorite part is chapter eight and the detailed movements of the Cavalries.
David Nichols
Solid military history, with some interesting minutiae about Revolutionary War soldiers. I'm afraid I cannot say the title of this book without snickering.
Mike Angelillo
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Mel Gibson completley botched the flow of this battle in "Patriot." That ham.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: revolution
This is a great, comprehensive book on the battle of Cowpens. It is very detailed about the participants, who they were, what they were like.
Blake Walker
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
The books is a good summary of the Battle of Cowpens. The American Revolution was actually America's first civil war between us and England. People tend to forget that....
L.B. Joramo
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Extremely detailed book; unlike any other concerning the Battle of Cowpens. But because it is so detailed it is dry. Although, I have no idea how academic writing can remedy that.
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Nov 25, 2017
Daniel Tarwacki
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Jan 31, 2018
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