By Daniel Murphy Lieutenant Colonel William Washington of the Continental 3rd Light Dragoons stood in his stirrups and looked out over the open drover’s field stretching before him. British infantry were eagerly charging forward, their breath blowing clouds in the winter’s morning air as they trotted forward with bayonets fixed and ready. Washington watched eagerly as American Whigs raised their rifles in reply and slowly took aim. The British kept coming nonetheless, and then a series of volleys flashed out, obscuring Washington’s view as the Whigs opened fire. When the smoke cleared, Washington could see that a good number of British infantrymen were down, but still more were on their feet. Worse yet, they were now coming even faster, knowing the Americans would never have time to reload before the British bayonets reached their line. Lacking bayonets of their own, the American riflemen began to turn about and abandon their position. This was no surprise; it was all according to plan. The riflemen had orders to retire to the rear line and once there reform and reload. Instead, the surprise came from the British side of the field as the 17th Light Dragoons, which were the best cavalry the British had, suddenly appeared at the gallop. British swords flashed overhead and horses bowled through the retreating riflemen. It was a light horseman’s dream—unloaded, fleeing infantry on firm ground—and the British troopers went at it full speed. In seconds they turned t


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