Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas (Real Voices, Real History)
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On February 11, 1780, a British army led by General Sir Henry Clinton came ashore on Johns Island, South Carolina. By the end of March, the British had laid siege to Charleston, the most important city south of Philadelphia. By the middle of May, they had taken the city and the American army defending it.
On March 15, 1781, that same British army left the field at Guilford Courthouse exhausted, decimated, stripped of supplies and rations, and victorious in name only. Its march away from Guilford Courthouse would end only a few months later at Yorktown, Virginia, where it would surrender.
How did this happen?
Although historians have debated the causes for centuries, they have often ignored how it felt to live, fight, and survive. What was it like to be British or American, Tory or Whig, regular soldier or militia, partisan, outlaw, or would-be bystander as the two sides (and those who drifted from side to side) went at each other with a fury across the Carolina countryside?
Through the eyewitness accounts of those who fought the battles and skirmishes Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas provides the reader with firsthand looks at how it felt. The entries in this volume are taken from first-person narratives by those on the scene, from officers such as Henry Lee and Banastre Tarleton to teenaged scouts such as Thomas Young and James Collins. Some narratives, like Daniel Morgan's report of the Battle of Cowpens, were written immediately or soon after the action; others, like Young's, were written when the boy soldiers had become old men. Some were written (and sometimes embellished) specifically for publication, while others were written as private correspondence or official reports. Some express a great deal of emotion and describe the authors' immediate experiences of war, while others concentrate on logistics, strategy, tactics, and the practical realities of an army battle; some, like Lee's, manage to do both.
The American Revolution in the Carolinas was nasty, brutish, and relatively short, though it must not have felt short to those who lived through it. It moved with a furious swiftness, the center of action shifting from Charleston to Camden, from Charlotte to King's Mountain, and from Cowpens to Guilford Courthouse in a matter of months, weeks, or sometimes days. Accounts that describe what it was actually like at all of these hot spots as well as the events that lead up to the actual fighting are included in this book. Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas gives the reader some idea of what it was like to be part of a war when two states were ripped apart but a nation was made.
Colonels of Regiments may assemble any number of their men they think necessary to be posted in particular spots of their districts. Their time of service on these occasions is to be limited; and they are at the expiration to be relieved by others. Great care is to be taken that no partiality is shown, that each take an equal proportion of duty, for which purpose alphabetical rolls are to be kept, by which the men are to be warned. Every Captain, to keep an account of the number of days each man
while Clarke had several wounded and one or two killed. What number the enemy lost I cannot say at this time, but they had several killed and wounded at both places. We all took care to secure what powder and balls we could in such cases, never encumbering ourselves with heavy plunder. As soon as the business was over, we fixed up our wounded as well as we could, and moved off. We had not proceeded far, till we fell in with a number of families, perhaps 50, or more, pushing on with all possible
very little of either, he reached Charlotte on December 2, 1780, virtually empty-handed. All he brought to the beleaguered Continentals now under his command were his keen eye for detail, his fighting instinct, his brilliance at organization, and—finally—a strategic mastery to match Cornwallis’s (see “The Race to the Dan,” pages 200-218). If Greene was the strategist who could outthink Cornwallis, the man who rode into Greene’s headquarters the next day was the battler who could outfight
which have received the stamp of universal belief for more than half a century, cannot present a more formidable phalanx of irresistible proof. In the article above referred to, the serious inquiry has been raised, “How is it possible that this paper, if it reached Congress, was concealed?” To this we answer in the language of the “Journal,” just mentioned, that “on the return of Captain Jack, he reported that Congress, individually, manifested their entire approbation of the conduct of the
Like many young rice kings, he was educated in England (at Westminster School and Balliol College, Oxford). In fact, in the 1760s and early 1770s, he was such a vociferous defender of the Crown that he left South Carolina to return to England. This sojourn, however, may have turned the king’s friend into the ardent Whig he became. “In England,” historian John Buchanan notes, “he was just another colonial, and it has been suggested that he returned home in 1772 with the bitter taste reserved by