Daniel Morgan

Portrait by Charles Willson Peale

QUICK FACTS
BORN:
1736 in New Jersey
  DIED:
6 July 1802 in Winchester, Virginia
Buried at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia

Daniel Morgan, American soldier in the militia, of Welsh ancestry, was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, in the winter of 1736. In 1753 he settled in Virginia.

In June 1775, soon after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he was commissioned a captain of Virginia riflemen, and he marched his company to Boston in 21 days. In the winter of 1775 he accompanied General Benedict Arnold to Canada, and in the assault on Quebec (31-Dec-1775) he and his riflemen penetrated the city, where he was hemmed in and was forced to surrender. He was discharged on parole on 7 August 1776. On 12 November he was commissioned colonel of the 11th Virginia and soon afterwards he was released from his parole.

In the summer of 1777 he was engaged in minor skirmishes in New Jersey, and early in September joined General Horatio Gates, then engaged in the campaign against General Burgoyne. At the first battle of Saratoga (19-Sep-1777) he was, until Arnold’s arrival late in the day, the ranking officer on the field; and in the second battle (7-Oct-1777) also took a prominent part. Morgan rejoined Washington in November near Philadelphia. In March 1779 he was commissioned by Congress colonel of the 7th Virginia; but in July, suffering from poor health and dissatisfied because Congress did not advance him further in rank, he resigned from the army and retired to Virginia.

After the Battle of Camden (16-Aug-1780), however, he joined Gates (then in command in the South) at Hillsborough, North Carolina, and on 1 October took command of a corps. On the 13th of the same month Congress tardily raised him to the rank of brigadier general. In January 1781 Cornwallis and Tarleton attempted to entrap him, but at Cowpens (17-Jan-1781) he defeated Tarleton and then escaped from Cornwallis into North Carolina.

In December 1793 he was commissioned major general of Virginia militia, and in November 1794 commanded troops sent to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. He was a Federalist representative in Congress in 1797 - 99. Daniel Morgan died in Winchester, Virginia, in 1802.

ADAPTED FROM:
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 ed.

 

C. Vann Woodward has written of Jefferson, It fell to the lot of one Virginian to define America. It was in his private life that Jefferson defined the relationship between blacks and whites in America, acting out in the most specific sense the psychosexual dilemma of the whole nation. Other great men in history have loved unlettered women, among them Rousseau and Goethe, each of whom lived for years with virtually illiterate mistresses and then in the end married them. But Jefferson’s dilemma was peculiarly American. So savage were the penalties of this kind of love in the New World that he could neither admit it nor defend it without fear of social ostracism, and he had to keep up an elaborate pretense that it did not exist. He could not openly, and perhaps even privately admit his paternity to Sally’s children.

Fawn M. Brodie
Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974)