Biography of Daniel Morgan
Prominent Persons in Virginia, Biographies





Morgan, Daniel, was born in Hunterdon count, New Jersey, probably in 1733, of Welsh descent. He worked for his father on an herb farm and received no education. He removed to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1753, and to Charlestown, Virginia, in 1754. where he obtained employment on a farm. He joined Braddocks army as a teamster in 1755, and at his defeat he transported the wounded to their homes. In 1753 a British officer struck him with a sword, and Morgan knocked him down, for which five hundred lashes were laid on his bare back. In 1757 he was with the militia sent to quell an Indian uprising at Edwards Fort on the Cocapehon river. As ensign he took part in the Indian campaign of 1758. While carry rng despatches to Winchester he became engaged in a fight with Indians in which most of his comrades were slain and a musket ball passed through the hack of his neck, removing all the teeth on the left side of the jaw. In 1762 he received a grant of land in Frederick county, Virginia. and devoted himself to farming, naming his place "Soldier's Rest." He was married about this time to Abigail Basley?, daughter of a farmer. He served as lieutenant of millitia during the Pontiac war. In 1863-64 he was captain of militia, and in 1773 served against the Indians. In June, 1775, he was appointed captain of one of the ten Virginia rifle companies raised to join Washington's army at Boston, which reached the American camp at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in July, 1775, having travelled six hundred miles in twenty one days, one of the first companies to report. On September 13, 1775, he went on the expedition to Quebec under Benedict Arnold. and was the first to cross the St. Lawrence river, November 13, 1775. He led the assault upon the lower town, took the battery, and fought his way into the town, where for lack of support his command was captured. He was a prisoner at Quebec until August 10, 1776, when he was discharged on parole, sailed for New York, stayed for a time at his home, and in November, 1776, was commissioned colonel of the Eleventh Virginia Regiment. When his parole expired he was instructed to recruit men for his regiment. Before his enlistment was complete he was ordered to the army at Morristown, New Jersey, and arrived there with 180 rifleman in April, 1777. He was placed in command of 500 sharpshooters (Morgan's ranger). On June 13, 1777. upon the advance of Lord Howe from New Brunswick, New Jersey, Margan's rangers had several encounters, and upon Howe's retreat toward Amboy, Morgan was sent forward to annoy him, and followed Howe to Philadelphia. He found Gen. Gates at Stillwater in August, 1777; was a prominent figure at Freeman's Farm, September 19, and at the surrender of Burgoyne, October 7. He was complimented by both Gates and Burgoyne, the latter characterizing his rangers the finest regiment in the world. He refused to listen to Gates criticism of Washington's conduct of the war and assured him that he would serve under no other man as commander in chief. At Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, he rejoined Washington, who met Howe's army and compelled him to retire to Philadelphia, after which the Americans went into winter camp at Valley Forge, and Morgan returned to Virginia. During June, 1778, he served in the Monmouth campaign, but was not present at the battle. He was commissioned colonel of the Seventh Virginia Regiment in March, 1779. and in June, 1779, congress having promoted inferior officers over him, he resigned on the appointment of Gates to the command of the southern army. After the battle of Camden, he joined Gates at Hillsborough, was promoted brigadier-general October 13, 1780. and served under Gates and Greene, and in December, 1780, was sent by Greene to threaten the inland posts of Augusta and Ninety-six. Cornwallis sent Tarleton to prevent this, and Morgan retreated to the Cowpens. The battle of January 17, 1781, was one of the most brilliant of the war, and reflected credit upon the military genius of Morgan. The British army was put to flight, but the direction taken by Cornwallis obliged Morgan to cross the Fords of the Catawba in order to join Greene, and by a brilliant march he reached the river first and warned Greene of the situation. He took part in the manoeuvers leading to the battle of Guilford Court House. which resulted in Carnwallis retreat into Virginia, but before the battle in February, 1781, he was incapacitated from further service by an attack of rheumatism and he returned home, in 1781 he joined in the suppression of the Tory rebellion in Virginia, and subsequently reported to Lafayette, near Jamestown, Virginia, and was given command of the light troops in Lafayette's command, hut illness compelled him to retire in August. 1781. He engaged in the cultivation of his farm, and became wealthy. In 1790 he received from congress the gold medal voted to him for services rendered at the Cowpens. In 1795 he was chosen major general of the Virginia troops that took part in the suppression of the whiskey insurrection in western Pennsylvania. He was a Federal representative in the fifth congress. 1797-99. and supported the administration of John Adams. A statue was dedicated to him at Spartansburg, South Carolina, in 1881. He died at Winchester, Virginia, July 6, 1802.


FROM:
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
Volume II
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915



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