22 Dec 2007

Banastre Tarleton’s Captured Flags

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The regimental flag of the Continental Army 2nd Light Dragoons, also known as Sheldon’s Horse, captured at the Battle of Pound Ridge, July 2, 1779.

One of the brighter flames in Hell undoubtedly surrounds the spirit of the late Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833), brave but merciless commander of the Loyalist British Legion during the American Revolution.

Tarleton’s spirit is doubtless also feeling a trifle vexed these days, knowing that the depredations of numerous Labour Governments caused his descendant last year to sell his war trophies at Sotheby’s.

The battle flag of Connecticut cavalry regiment Colonel Elisha Sheldon’s Continental Light Dragoons (pictured above), captured by Tarleton at the Battle of Pound Ridge, July 2, 1779, estimated to change hands for $1.5 to $3.5 million dollars, sold for $12.36 million dollars.

The three regimental and divisional flags of the Third Virginia Detachment, commanded by Abraham Buford, captured May 29, 1780 at the Waxhaw Massacre, in which Tarleton’s Legion slaughtered Americans after they had surrendered, estimated at $2.5 to $6.5 million dollars, possibly had their price depressed by the circumstances surrounding their capture, and sold below the high estimate at $5.056 million dollars.

Tarleton’s trophies, recaptured by the American dollars of an anonymous purchaser, will be displayed at Williamsburg, Virginia’s Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, at an exhibition titled Captured Colors: Four Battleflags of the American Revolution starting today through January 9, 2009.

Rare Revolutionary War battle flags returning to U.S.

Flags of our forefathers with 2:21 video

5 Feedbacks on "Banastre Tarleton’s Captured Flags"

Dominique Poirier

Those who enjoyed watching The Patriot, starring Australian actor Mel Gibson, might be interested to know that the repulsive and brutal character of Colonel William Tavington, wonderfully performed by British actor Jason Isaacs, was based on Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, indeed.

Resemblance between Lt Colonel Banastre’s paintings and actor Jason Isaacs in his British uniform is striking.

Jason Isaacs as Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot:

Lt Colonel Banastre’s paintings

John Maass

While it is good to see that there are folks out there who are interested in Banastre Tarleton, is is sad to see that your post is quite inaccurate in describing BT and his actions in the American Revolution. In fact, historians have show over the past several years that BT and his men did not slaughter Americans “after they had surrendered.” Several American soldiers fired at Tarleton and some of his men after they had already laid down their arms, which prompted a fierce counterattack on the part of the British Legion. BT was destructive to be sure, esp. in SC. However, your characterization of him above only perpetuates the myths that have so little basis in fact.

Ben Zaricor

To the respondent that said Tarelton’s men did not massacre the troops at Waxhaws: We were involved in the research on this subject before the flags went to auction. Our recollection of what historians have stated about the circumstances of the killing of the American soldiers that had surrended is as follows; According to the sources we saw, historians agree that “a single shot” was fired by some unknown person that caused the British Legion to attack the unarmed American soldiers with bayonets. Therefore one may deduce that they were in fact massacred by an ufortunate misinterpretation of the situation by the British Legion. To put this matter to rest ands make it clear, in Tarelton’s own words in “History of the Campaigns”, he termed the battle a “slaughter”. So as much as one does not want to believe this, of an ally of today, history is best served to remember what really happened not what we want to believe what ought to have happened.

Chris Evans

Greetings. There is an excellent website on Banastre Tarleton located at http://www.banastretarleton.org. When I first started studying Tarleton I believed that he was alot like Tavington in ‘The Patriot’. The real history seems much more complicated. The bitter fighting of the southern campaign of the Revolution was waged by both sides. The aforementioned website also has an excellent account on Waxhaxs at http://home.golden.net/~marg/bansite/banecdotes/97waxhaws.html.
Chris Evans

rick tarleton

great great great grandfather


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