Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan

New Hampton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA
Death 6 Jul 1802 (aged 66)
Winchester, Winchester City, Virginia, USA
Burial Winchester, Winchester City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 2755 · View Source
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Revolutionary War Continental Army Brigadier General. Born to Welsh parents, he spoke little about his childhood, so historical details are vague. Most believe he was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey although there is a possibility that he was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania which was just across the river and where his father worked as an ironmaster. Following an argument with his father he left home, and spent some weeks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania working at odds jobs. He next headed south along the Great Wagon Road, settling in Charles Town, Virginia at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. He gained a reputation as an uneducated and uncouth person, who liked gambling, drinking and fighting, but he was a big strong man, who wasn't afraid of hard work. He first worked to prepare land for planting, then worked in a sawmill, then became a Wagoner because of higher pay. Within a year, he had saved enough money to buy his own team. The French and Indian War had now broken out and at the age of nineteen, Daniel Morgan was soon hired as a civilian by Major General Edward Braddock for his ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne in 1755. In Spring 1756, while Morgan was taking supplies to Fort Chiswell, he irritated a British Lieutenant who struck him with the flat of his sword. He then knocked the officer out with one punch. For that he was court-martialed and sentenced to 500 lashes (he later always maintained that the drummer had miscounted and he had only been given 499 lashes, so the British still 'owed him one more lash.') In 1758, he joined a local company of rangers serving the British Army. It was recommended that he be given the rank of Captain, but only an Ensign's commission was available, which he accepted. As he and two escorts were returning from Fort Edwards with a dispatch for the commanding officer at Winchester, Virginia, Indians ambushed them at Hanging Rock. The escorts were killed, while Morgan was seriously wounded by a bullet that hit the back of his neck, knocked out all his teeth in his left jaw and exited his cheek.. After the frontier grew quiet, Morgan returned to wagonering. He also continued his brawling and rough ways, but he always saved his money and in 1759 he bought a house in Winchester. In 1762, he set up residence with Abigail Bailey, who was about ten years his junior. In 1763 to 1764, Daniel Morgan served as a Lieutenant defending against Pontiac's Conspiracy. By 1774, he owned 255 acres on which he prospered at farming. He also owned ten slaves and had become a captain of militia. In 1774, he went to war, fighting for the British in Lord Dunmore's War against the Shawnee Indians. He served for five months, leading his company deep into the hostile Ohio country. On April 19, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the raising of ten rifle companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia in June. Virginia raised two companies. Captain Daniel Morgan was chosen to lead one of the companies on June 22, 1775. He raised ninety-six men in ten days. On July 15, he and his company set out from Winchester, Virginia and arrived in Boston on August 6, 1775. When Congress decided to invade Canada, it was decided that three rifle companies would accompany Colonel Benedict Arnold on the expedition. Captain Morgan's company won one of the selections by lots. Arnold then named Morgan commander of all three rifle companies for the duration of the expedition. As the expedition set out from Maine, Morgan was chosen to lead the advance party. Captain Morgan and Colonel Arnold almost came to blows over daily rations for the men. Morgan felt that a pint of flour per man was not enough. The two men had tempers and the exchange grew heated. Even so, the men respected one another and would later work well together at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Even after Arnold's treason, Morgan continued to speak fondly of him. at the second Battle of Saratoga Gates countered the British by ordering Colonel Morgan's riflemen and Dearborn's light infantry to cross through the woods to flank Burgoyne's force. Fierce fighting drove the British back to their own fortifications and only darkness saved them from being overrun by the Americans. Morgan's friendship with General Gates was strained for a time when he refused to support Gates in his efforts to supplant General George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. Morgan rejoined Washington's main army on November 18th. Morgan skirmished and scouted for Washington throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Colonel Morgan missed the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey on June 28, 1778, because Maj. General Charles Lee failed to keep him informed of the main army's movements. He then took temporary command of the ill General William Woodford's Virginia brigade. The Continental Congress passed over Colonel Daniel Morgan for promotion. The standing policy was that a state could only have as many brigadier generals as units supplied by the state and Virginia already had its quota. Morgan offered his resignation from the Army on July 18, 1779, dissatisfied with this Congressional policy. Congress refused his resignation and instead granted a furlough, so he went home. On May 7, 1780, Congress ordered Morgan to join Gates in June 1780, who had taken over Southern command. After learning of his appointment that same month, Gates wrote Colonel Morgan and asked him to join him. Morgan, however, was now in great pain from sciatica, which had developed in the last year. After he learned that General Gates had been defeated at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780, Morgan put aside his personal feelings and set out for Hillsborough, North Carolina. He arrived in September and on October 2, Gates gave him command of a light infantry corps. On October 13, 1780, Congress finally promoted Morgan to brigadier general. From October to December, Morgan's order from Gates was to scout and campaign between Camden, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. On December 3, 1780, Brig. General Daniel Morgan rode into Charlotte, North Carolina and greeted his new commander, Maj. General Nathanael Greene. Morgan was to also avoid direct engagement with the British. Morgan left Charlotte on December 21st in command of 600 men. Cornwallis recognized Greene's strategy and immediately ordered Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton to pursue Morgan. Morgan played cat and mouse with Tarleton for three weeks. Morgan learned of Lt. Colonel Tarleton's tendency for a quick frontal charge from his officers who were experienced in fighting Tarleton. He also knew of the low expectations that the British had for Patriot militia. After choosing Cowpens, South Carolina as his battleground because of the hills in its geography, he formulated a plan that made use of both tendencies. He had spent the night before going around his camp, encouraging his men and especially the militia to give him two shots. When Lt. Colonel Tarleton arrived at Cowpens, he found Morgan had placed the militia under the command of Andrew Pickens on the front line. Tarleton quickly ordered for his veteran troops to advance. The militia fired two rounds and retreated. Tarleton saw the retreat as the beginning of a rout similar to what had happened at Camden in August when the militia had fled and left the Continental forces vastly outnumbered. Tarleton ordered a bayonet charge, but soon found himself double-flanked and Tarleton himself barely escaped the field. On July 7, 1781, Morgan joined the Marquis de Lafayette in Virginia. Morgan and Brig. General Anthony Wayne pursued Lt. Colonel Tarleton, but failed to catch him. The activity brought on another severe case of sciatica and Morgan again retired to his home in Virginia in ill health. In 1782, Daniel Morgan built another house which he named "Saratoga" after his successes in New York. Sometime during the 1780's, an extramarital affair resulted in a son, Willoughby, about whom Morgan never spoke. Morgan's business dealings in land speculation resulted in his owning over 250,000 acres by 1795. He even became a member of the Presbyterian Church. On March 25, 1790, Morgan finally received a gold medal that had been struck by Congress in recognition of his victory at Cowpens. In 1794, the major general returned to active duty to lead a group of militia against protesters during the Whiskey Rebellion. After failing to win election to Congress in 1795, he won a term in 1797 to1799, serving in Congress as a Federalist, but was too ill to run for reelection in 1799. In December 1821, the General Assembly of Virginia approved the organization of Morgan County, named in Daniel Morgan's honor.

Bio by: K M

Family Members



Major General Daniel Morgan
departed this life
on July 6, 1802
In the 67th year of his Age
Patriotism and Valor were the
prominent features of his Character
the honorable Services he rendered
to his Country
during the Revolutionary War
crowned him with Glory and
will remain in the Hearts of his
a perpetual Monument
to his


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2755
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Daniel Morgan (6 Jul 1736–6 Jul 1802), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2755, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, Winchester City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .