On January 17, 1781, at the Battle of the Cowpens, British Colonel Banastre Tarleton was decisively defeated by Continental General Daniel Morgan. Tarleton’s British regiments gained ground until they were confronted with an unexpected counterattack and disintegrated. Now the American troops were pushing across the battlefield, capturing surrendering British soldiers and fighting artillerymen who were defending their cannon. The artillery and baggage was in danger, and Tarleton was determined not to let the enemy get it. He was, after all, a cavalryman who excelled in headlong charges against numerically superior enemies.
(2) Cornet Thomas Patterson of the regiment was killed on this occasion*, and Lieutenant Henry Nettles wounded; several private soldiers and troop horses were also killed and wounded.
*During the action the American Colonel Washington called out, "Where is now the boasting Tarleton?" CORNET PATTERSON of the SEVENTEENTH was riding up to attack him, and was shot by Washington's orderly Trumpeter. Anecdote by Lieut.-General Sir Evan Lloyd, who served with the regiment in America. (History of the Seventeenth Light Dragoons by John W. Parker, available at http://www.replications.com/17LD/17hist.htm)