Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, June 23, 2006


This is coolbert:

One of the few British Army officers [maybe the only one] to emerge from the American Revolutionary War with a degree of glory was Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

A man whose character was adapted for the recent movie "The Patriot". In the movie, Tarleton is called William Tavington.

The real Tarleton was an energetic military man of action. A commanding soldier possessing elan. Elan - - spirited action. Something that senior commanders desire to see in subordinates, but almost never do. A relatively young man too. Accomplished most of his battlefield heroics by the age of twenty four!!

Tarleton seems to have been a natural soldier, purchasing a commission at age nineteen and by the age of twenty four an established commander of the Green Dragoons, a cavalry unit of Loyalist Tory troops [colonialists loyal to George III].

Tarleton was considered by the his Revolutionary war foes to be a hard, brutal, even cruel foe. This may very well be overrated. But he was a successful commander.

Not on all occasions however!

Tarleton was present leading his troops on the battlefield at Cowpens. The famous "American Cannae" blogged about before. Barely escaping with his life, Tarleton was not victorious that day. Luckily got away. MOST OTHER Britishers did not on that occasion.

[William Tavington, as shown in the movie "The Patriot" was a sadistic killer who enjoyed his work. Got a fitting end at the hands of Mel Gibson. Surprisingly so, the man who played the role of Tavington in the movie, Jason Issacs studied law at an early point in his life, as did the real Tarleton!!]

Tarleton was a character shown repeatedly in the 1950's Disney made for TV series "Swamp Fox". A TV series based upon the American Revolutionary War exploits of Francis Marion. A TV series starring Leslie Nielsen in a very early role. Tarleton is shown as an able British commander who is always out-foxed by the "Swamp Fox". NOT sure of the real story there.

"Col. Banastre Tarleton, sent out to capture him, despaired of finding the "old swamp fox," who eluded him by following swamp paths. Tarleton and Marion were sharply contrasted in the popular mind, with Tarleton hated because he had burned and destroyed homes and supplies, whereas Marion's Men, when they requisitioned supplies (or destroyed them to keep them out of British hands) gave receipts for them. After the war many of these receipts were redeemed by the new state government."

Just a few days ago, the famous auction house Sotheby's sold at auction four battle standards that were in the possession of the Tarleton family. The ancestors of the famous Banastre. These sold for the amazing sum of $17.4 million!!

Battle standards of four American Revolutionary War regiments captured by the Green Dragoons under the command of Tarleton.

[a regiment of the time would carry two flags. One would be the national colors, the other a flag [battle standard] that symbolized the regiment itself. A flag unique to that army regiment.]

[this photo of Tarleton is from a painting of same. A painting made after the Revolutionary War. The flags at the feet of Tarleton laying on the ground are those four battle standards.

The direct descendants of Banastre Tarleton could no longer pay to insure the standards, so they were put up for sale and sold almost immediately to an anonymous buyer.

Perhaps an American. It is not clear.

Hopefully, these standards will be returned to America.

These four battle standards are very significant. It seems the final form of the American national colors, the Stars and Stripes, is based in part upon the design of several of the captured battle standards.

Amazing stuff!!



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