Once Tarleton finds Morgan and his Flying Army he decides to attack at once, which as we all know, was Tarleton’s normal plan of action. Now when you look at Tarleton’s battles before Cowpens almost no mention can be found of artillery playing a role. You will find infantry and calvary charges used to great effect, where they shock the enemy into submission. So then you look into his military training and again almost no mention is made of artillery. To this point, I am not sure Tarleton knew how to deploy his artillery to effect or even cared to try since he was undefeated in most major engagements where the sword of his calvary and the bayonet of his infantry always took the day. This is where a well placed artillery officer could have played an important role, if they would have been a separate contingent of Tarleton’s formation. This officer would have allowed a voice of experience to advise Tarleton on how to best deploy his artillery. Instead the artillery was lead by infantry commanders who showed no interest in deploying the artillery in mass against the American rabble who had always yielded to cold steel.
After walking the battle field with several fellow historians, it is easy to see how the artillery would have had a difficult and incessantly time consuming job to be placed and replaced as the British formations moved forward to give them time to be effective against the American lines. This is why I think Tarleton had no love for the guns especially in this battle where he felt the enemy was corned and he smelled victory again in the air. Once the battle started with the artillery firing at the American lines they are almost never talked about again except for their capture. After walking the battle field and seeing where they first fired at the Americans and where they were captured at is quiet some distance. Given the fact, which they were trying to stay in unit cohesion with their assigned infantry units who were advancing towards the American lines, fired as they went at the Americans, and were going up and down rises in the country side it was not an easy day to be an artilleryman.
Once the British smelled victory at Cowpens, when they thought they saw the American lines break and charged towards the Americans, the artilleries usefulness almost ended because they could not fire into the American lines without possibly hitting their own troops. At this point they became bystanders to the events unfolding before them as the Americans turned on the British and counter charged them and pushed them back. This happened so fast that the artillery did not have a chance to try to even remove their guns from the battle field. Instead they did their duty which was to stand with the guns and to try to protect them which cost many their lives or horrible injury.
I feel it is safe to say that the artillery had little time to be effect against the Americans because, of the short time of the battle which lasted around 45 to sixty minutes in its entirety, their lack of unit cohesion, and because of the tactics used by Tarleton.