The Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution
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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
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
William James Morgan
An intersting little article (re)published in 1981, about the French victory at Yorktown.
Long, Obstinate and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse
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