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THE GREEN DRAGOON: The Lives of Banastre Tarleton and Mary Robinson

by Robert D. Bass

Banastre Tarleton was born August 21, 1754 in Liverpool, England to an upper middle-class family. He studied law at Oxford and joined the military in 1775. He sailed with Lord Cornwallis where the British fleet dropped anchor in the Charleston harbor and attempted to attack the palmetto log fort near Sullivan’s Island. The British were not successful at taking the fort and headed north to form ground troops. Three weeks before his 24th birthday, Tarleton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the British Legion, a military unit composed of infantry and cavalry troops. Tarleton combined the troops to form his own green-jacketed dragoons, a group of mounted infantrymen who rode on horseback into battle and dismounted to fight. Tarleton led a powerful combat team including raids in the upstate and took an active part in battles all over the Carolinas. Swiftly moving his troops from Beaufort to Charleston to Goose Creek and Moncks Corner, the cavalry advanced northward, keeping in motion to gain intelligence of the enemy’s design. “Bloody Tarleton” was perhaps best known for his barbaric actions in killing men even after they surrendered and begged for quarter. “Tarleton’s quarter,” essentially meaning “no quarter,” became the battle cry of American riflemen. In the blockbuster hit The Patriot, the English Colonel was crafted after Banastre Tarleton. Although Tarleton never chose to gather a group and burn them in a church, he did command the ruthless killing of civilians all over the Carolina’s. He did not die in the war as the film portrayed, instead he returned to Britain to become successful in Parliament and died both rich and badge-encrusted.

500 pages. 2003. (1957). 

ISBN 13: 978-0-87844-163-1/ISBN 10: 0-87844-163-8, $39.95 (Softcover)



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