Tarleton's PloyAfter leaving General Cornwallis' army on May 27, Tarleton drove his men and horses relentlessly, covering 105 miles in 54 hours. He sent a messenger ahead with a surrender demand. Colonel Buford refused.Tarleton's ploy delayed the Virginians long enough to allow the British advance guard to catch up with and capture Buford's rear guard, consisting of only five men. Colonel Buford sent his wagons, baggage, and artillery ahead and chose his defensive position: a single defensive line "in an open wood to the right of the road."At a distance of three hundred yards, Tarleton halted and formed a reserve "upon a small eminence that commanded the road."He divided his force into three groups to simultaneously attack Buford's left, center, and right; Tarleton led the assault on the left flank.Buford's FollyBuford ordered his line to withhold their fire until the charging cavalrymen were only at ten yards distance. The tactic was a serious mistake. The horsemen immediately overran Buford's line. Tarleton was shot off his horse. Loyalists sabered and bayoneted the Continentals; some tried to surrender, waving white flags, others fought stubbornly, and a few fled. Colonel Buford escaped on horseback.British casualties were minimal - only five killed and fourteen wounded,
while American losses were substantial - 113 killed, 150 wounded (many of whom later died), and 53 taken prisoner.From map insets:Buford's Command:
· 150 Virginia Continentals of the Third Provisional Regiment,
· 40 Virginia Light Dragoons,
· Two six-pounder guns and crews.
· 150 British Legion cavalrymen,
· 100 mounted Legion infantrymen,
· a 40-man detachment of the 17th Light Dragoons,
· a 3 pounder field gun and crew.