Morgan was born in 1736, probably in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. As a teenager, he moved near Winchester, Virginia, to work as a farm hand and teamster. Around 1755, he contracted with the British Army under General Braddock, and, when the French and Indian War began, he volunteered for frontier defense. In 1758 his unit was caught in an ambush, and he was severely wounded in the upper jaw. Early in the Revolutionary War, Morgan commanded a rifle company in the Continental Army's abortive assault on Quebec during the winter of 1776 (in which he was captured). After his exchange, he joined the Northern Army and fought at the Battle of Saratoga. Following a short retirement, he returned to active service in 1779. Now attached to the Southern army, he commanded a militia force with light infantry and cavalry. In early 1781, he won a celebrated victory over the British at the battle of Cowpens. Afterward, injuries forced him home to Virginia. In 1794, he commanded the Virginia militia assigned to combat the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Morgan entered Congress for a term in 1797 and died on July 6, 1802.


  • Creator: Charles Willson Peale, from life
  • Contributor: Independence National Historical Park, National Park Service
  • Original Source: http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/indeimg/morgan.html
  • Source: Independence NHP
  • Portrait Figure Birth and Death Dates: 1736-1802
  • Ownership History: Listed (incorrectly as "Jacob Morgan") in the 1795 Peale Museum catalog. Purchased by the City of Philadelphia at the 1854 Peale Museum sale.
  • National Park Service Catalog Number: INDE 11844
  • Measurements: H 23, W 19 in (H 58.4, W 48.3 cm)
  • Materials: Oil on canvas.
  • Date: c. 1794
  • About This Portrait: Charles Willson Peale probably painted his museum portrait of Morgan when the hero of Cowpens passed through Philadelphia in 1794 on his way to the western frontier at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion. This painting was thought to be a copy until recent conservation removed earlier overpaint, uncovering the distinctive scar on Morgan's upper lip. Another Peale portrait of the subject (in uniform, but posed differently, and possibly by the artist's son Rembrandt) is now owned by the Virginia Historical Society.

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