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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 17 January 2013

On this day in 1781, the Battle of Cowpens took place in Gaffney, South Carolina, with General Daniel Morgan and his Patriot forces claiming victory over the British forces led by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, a turning point in the war. The British had captured Charleston and Camden and South Carolina was continuing to be ravaged by the British, so General Morgan was sent into South Carolina to delay them. Morgan formulated a plan to goad the British into attacking at Gaffney, lining up his militia in front to fire and then fall to the rear, where his experienced soldiers were positioned, causing the British forces to believe they were retreating. When the British charged, Morgan’s forces were waiting, causing heavy British casualties and eventually a British retreat. 1

One notable birthday on this day in history in 1706, that of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin had sixteen siblings and step-siblings, so the family couldn’t afford much formal education, but he had an affinity for reading and writing. When he was twelve, he was apprenticed to an older brother who was a publisher. Five years later, he moved to Philadelphia and opened his own print shop, printing his own writings, notably Poor Richard’s Almanack and the Pennsylvania Gazette, as well as those of others. Franklin later served as postmaster of Philadelphia. He is credited with starting the first subscription library, volunteer fire department, and scholarly association, as well as Pennsylvania’s first college, now the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin eventually retired from publishing to pursue his love of science and inventing. His inventions include the “Pennsylvania Fireplace,” bifocals and the lightning rod. His political appointments include serving on the Pennsylvania Assembly, Deputy British Postmaster of North America, diplomat in London, member of the Second Continental Congress, minister to France, president of Philadelphia, and delegate to the Federal Convention of 1787. Franklin helped draft and signed the Declaration of Independence, helped negotiate and signed the Treaty of Paris, and signed the Constitution.   2

1 “The Battle of Cowpens – Gaffney, South Carolina,” www.exploresouthernhistory.com/Cowpens1.html
2 “The Pragmatic Innovator,” Today in History, memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jan17.html

For more on Ben Franklin, pick up your copy of The Spirit of 76 right here!
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