Daniel Morgan: A Revolutionary Life (Hardcover)
On January 17, 1781, at Cowpens, South Carolina, the notorious British cavalry officer Banastre Tarleton and his legion had been destroyed along with the cream of Lord Cornwallis’s troops. The man who planned and executed this stunning American victory was Daniel Morgan. Once a barely literate backcountry laborer, Morgan now stood at the pinnacle of American martial success. Born in New Jersey in 1736, he left home at seventeen and found himself in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. There he worked in mills and as a teamster, and was recruited for Braddock’s disastrous expedition to take Fort Duquesne from the French in 1755. When George Washington called for troops to join him at the siege of Boston in 1775, Morgan organized a select group of riflemen and headed north. From that moment on, Morgan’s presence made an immediate impact on the battlefield and on his superiors. Washington soon recognized Morgan’s leadership and tactical abilities. When Morgan’s troops blocked the British retreat at Saratoga in 1777, ensuring an American victory, he received accolades from across the colonies.
In Daniel Morgan: A Revolutionary Life, the first biography of this iconic figure in forty years, historian Albert Louis Zambone presents Morgan as the quintessential American everyman, who rose through his own dogged determination from poverty and obscurity to become one of the great battlefield commanders in American history. Using social history and other advances in the discipline that had not been available to earlier biographers, the author provides an engrossing portrait of this storied personality of America’s founding era—a common man in uncommon times.
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“This long-overdue reappraisal of the dramatic life of one of America’s finest military leaders places Daniel Morgan squarely in the context of his times. Rugged and defiant, Morgan was also a clever and innovative officer whose influence on the American military ethos reaches right down to today. Best of all, Zambone’s book is quite an enjoyable read!”—Edward G. Lengel, author of General George Washington: A Military Life
—Mark Edward Lender, coauthor of Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle
"Albert Louis Zambone's evocative and engaging book immerses readers in the fascinating life and tumultuous times of Daniel Morgan. The biography follows Morgan as he fought his way up: he was a nobody from nowhere who became a celebrated military tactician and war hero. Zambone restores Morgan to a place of prominence in the story of American independence. Through his exploration of Morgan's life, Zambone also illuminates the interplay between the Revolutionary War and the larger American Revolution, which transformed Morgan's life and the society he inhabited. Daniel Morgan is important and crisply written and not to be missed by readers interested in the origins of the American Republic."—Lorri Glover, Saint Louis University, author of The Fate of the Revolution: Virginians Debate the Constitution (Johns Hopkins, 2016) and Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale, 2014)