The Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution

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The Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution

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Fev 28, 2009, 8:30am

I blame Walt Disney for my fascination with the American Revolution in the South. When I was kid Disney ran a series SWAMP FOX based on the exploits of the legendary American partisan leader Francis Marion. He was played by some guy named Leslie Nielson. I guess it was no surprise I ended up attending the Marion Military Institute!
Over the years I was lucky enough to visit all the major Southern battlefields, picking up a book or National Park Service pamphlet here and there. Savannah, Cowpens, Kings Mountain, or Yorktown …. all are worth a visit.

When I began to read seriously on the subject I started with one of my first “grownup” purchases Don Higginbotham’s The War of American Independence Military Attitudes, Policies and Practice, 1763-1789 and followed it up with Ward’s THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION IN TWO VOLUMES. I was happy to discover another slim survey The war in the South: The Carolinas and Georgia in the American Revolution, an informal history.
During my first battlefield visits I came across a solid regimental history, Hugh Rankin’s The North Carolina Continentals.

Since those days the subject seems to have gathered interest. I recommend two solid survey’s From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South and The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas. Other works include: The Cowpens-Guilford Courthouse Campaign, The late affair has almost broke my heart, South Carolina And the American Revolution: A Battlefield History, This Destructive War: The British Campaign in the Carolinas. The fighting in the South has been described by some as the first American Civil War due to the number of Americans fighting on both sides. This partisan war quickly became incredibly grim for the civilian population, as portrayed in Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot.” A few examples of works focused on this side of the fighting: Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution, The Revolutionary War in the Southern Backcountry, and This Destructive War: The British Campaign in the Carolinas, 1780-1782.

The conventional side of things centers upon two battles; Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse. We now have two well-researched volumes incorporating current scholarship covering the pair: A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens and Long, Obstinate, and Bloody. In earlier years the National Park Service’s incomparable Ed Bearss contributed The Battle of Cowpens: A Documented Narrative and Troop Movement Maps while the famous novelist Kenneth Roberts published The Battle of Cowpens. More recent works include: Another Such Victory: The Story of the American Defeat at Guilford Courthouse that Helped Win the War for Independence, Guilford Courthouse: North Carolina, and the Osprey campaign treatment Guilford Courthouse 1781: Lord Cornwallis's Ruinous Victory. And as know the war in the South leads directly to Yorktown… The Campaign That Won America: The Story of Yorktown.

Novelists have contributed to the literature; works include Oliver Wiswell, which investigates the war from the Tory side; Robert Grave’s Sergeant Lamb’s America, based on the memoirs of a British infantryman, and the long-forgotten works of William Gilmore Simms.

Please feel free to add titles, suggestions, recommendations

Mar 18, 2009, 11:19am

Ketchum also has a book about Yorktown Victory at Yorktown and I believe Thomas Fleming does as well. I have Devil of a Whipping, which I have not read yet, and the Road to Guilford Courthouse, which I did read and enjoyed immensely. I also enjoy picking up those National Park pamphlets and booklets when I see them in second hand stores. I've picked up a few of the booklets on the Civil War (Shiloh, Vicksburg, Battles for Richmond) but only have "Battle Road", about Lexington and Concord, from the Rev War.

Mar 18, 2009, 2:41pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Editado: Mar 18, 2009, 2:42pm

Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse...Touchstones again refuse to work for me...

Mar 19, 2009, 10:07pm

Finished Long, Obstinate and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse last week. It is a very good book. I had a chance to walk the battlefield in 2002 and the book does a very good job of conveying the effect of the terrain on the battle. Ammianus has pretty wonderful list. I'm particularly fond of Devil of a Whipping I would add Walter Edgar's Partisan's and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of American Revolution on the partisan war in South Carolina. (sigh, oh touchstones don't fail me now.) For those who need such detail there are four volumes of Patrick O' Kelley's Nothing But Blood and Slaughter. These latter books provide orders of battle and interesting detail on every action in the Carolinas from small skirmishes to Guilford Courthouse.

Finally, there are a couple of interesting books from the British perspective. Fusiliers by Mark Urban tells the story of the 23rd Regt. (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) which served throughout the Revolution but figured large in Cornwallis' army in the south. Another very recent book is With Zeal and With Bayonet Only by Mathew Spring which examines the battlefield tactics of the British army during the war and debunks our mythology of how the war was fought.

Sorry, but Ammianus got all the good stuff

Mar 20, 2009, 8:08am

Ah pshaw ks! Thanks for adding titles, that was my intent, that we'd all work together to really cover a subject. I've almost purchased P.O'Kelley's volumes but was unsure of the quality. I too enjoyed OBSTINATE & DEVIL. I guess you've forced me into buying Fusiliers, I loved Urban's The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell.
Cheers, A

Mar 20, 2009, 7:16pm

Hey, don't want to make this a private party, but if you have to choose, I found With Zeal and With Bayonet Only to be really illuminating. I was not crazy about Fusiliers, though some of my friends really enjoyed it.

Mar 21, 2009, 4:54am

The Pivot Upon Which Everything Turned: French Naval Superiority That Ensured Victory At Yorktown

William James Morgan

An intersting little article (re)published in 1981, about the French victory at Yorktown.

Dez 30, 2012, 8:48am

New title joins the mix, General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South, a selection of essays.

Editado: Dez 30, 2012, 10:32am

To force a touchstone enter the work number (the number after the work in the url for the work page), followed by two colons and the then the title (or whatever text you want actually). Let's see if this works,

Long, Obstinate and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse

Dez 30, 2012, 6:37pm

ksmyth, I'm working on "With Zeal and With Bayonets Only," and finding it an interesting, if not "compelling" read. I also read "Fusiliers," and found it equally "uncompelling".

Maio 24, 2013, 8:10pm

Fev 21, 2016, 11:33am

We're just back from visiting South Carolina; Georgetown, Beaufort & Charleston. Revisited the Southern Campaign (remember Leslie Neilson as Disney's "The Swamp Fox?"), reread some of my books and bought some others.

Gamecock: The Life and Campaigns of General Thomas Sumter
Otho Holland Williams in The American Revolution
South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History
Cool Deliberate Courage: John Eager Howard in the American Revolution
The Life of Francis Marion: The True Story of South Carolina's Swamp Fox
Kings Mountain and Cowpens (SC): Our Victory was Complete

On my TBR pile:
Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution
To Starve, Die & Be Damned: The Delaware Blues of the American Revolution, 1776-1783

A fascinating time in American history. We spent two nights at the Mansfield Plantation, now a bnb, formerly a wealthy rice plantation


Abr 6, 2019, 12:35pm

There is an superb description of the Battle of Cowpens at Wikipedia ... including maps showing troop movements. See: