Sunday, November 19, 2023

ARP289 Green Spring

We left off last week with the British army in Virginia under General Charles Cornwallis.  After linking up with the army under William Phillips and Benedict Arnold, Cornwallis had an army of about 7000 men under his command.  

Anthony Wayne

He began a series of raids across Virginia, including the raid on Governor Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello. Then, near the end of June, Cornwallis received orders from General Henry Clinton to withdraw back to the coast, to send half his army back to New York, and to cease all offensive operations in Virginia.

With the appearance that the British army was on the verge of taking control of Virginia, this may sound like a bizarre change of plans.  Certainly to General Cornwallis, it was frustrating and confusing.  So we need to take a step back and look at this from the perspective of General Clinton in New York.

Clinton War Plans

General Clinton had taken command of the British forces in America following General Howe’s recall in 1778. This coincided with France’s entry into the war, resulting in London recalling much of the army in America to other parts of the empire.  British Secretary of State, George Germain, ordered Clinton to evacuate Philadelphia and to consolidate the army at New York.  This was done to free up the army and navy for actions elsewhere in the world.  

Clinton spent the next few years trying to get more soldiers to go back on the offensive, but with little luck.  He mostly focused on the South, taking Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.  After the British capture of Charleston in the spring of 1780, Clinton returned to New York, leaving General Cornwallis in charge of the south.  Clinton told Cornwallis that his primary mission was to secure South Carolina and Georgia, leaving open the possibility of moving the war into North Carolina only once he had secured those southern colonies.

Gen. Henry Clinton

Clinton expected Cornwallis to focus on the pacification of South Carolina.  This would ensure British control of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.  A strong British presence in South Carolina would encourage loyalists to turn out and support the king, ending the war there.  Then, and only then, did Cornwallis have the option to move north into North Carolina.

Of course, Cornwallis moved into North Carolina while South Carolina was still very much in play.  By taking British attention away from South Carolina, Cornwallis had allowed the local patriot militia to continue their contest there, and prevent many loyalists from turning out.  Loyalists were reluctant to join with the British army if they were not certain the British army was there to stay.  The knew that once the British army left, they and their property was subject to the wrath of the patriots.

So by leaving South Carolina for North Carolina and eventually Virginia, Cornwallis had undermined Clinton’s plans to secure South Carolina for Britain.  Cornwallis had not bothered to keep his commander in New York apprised of his actions.  Clinton did not receive any reports from Cornwallis for months in 1781.  Instead, Cornwallis was sending reports directly to Germain in London.

Clinton had considered Cornwallis a backstabber, ever since the time in 1776 that Cornwallis reported to then-General Howe some things that Clinton had said about Howe in a fit of pique.  With Cornwallis communicating directly with Germain, he was once again undermining Clinton.

Clinton certainly had an interest in Virginia.  He had first deployed General Alexander Leslie there in 1780, then General Arnold, and then General Phillips.  But Clinton had never planned to secure Virginia under British rule.  The point of these deployments was to disrupt Virginia from sending soldiers and supplies to support the war effort in the Carolinas.  These efforts were supposed to relieve the pressure on Cornwallis as he focused on the destruction of Nathanael Greene’s Continentals and the local militia.  

When General Phillips had some success in Virginia, he and Clinton discussed the idea of defeating the small army under Lafayette, then moving into Maryland, and possibly launching some new raids on Philadelphia.  Much of this, however, was simply to distract the enemy so that Cornwallis could continue his work to pacify the Carolinas.

After learning that Cornwallis had abandoned the Carolinas and moved into Virginia, none of this made much sense.  What was the point of raids in Maryland and Pennsylvania to distract the enemy in the south, if the British were no longer fighting in the South?

At this point, Clinton seemed not to know what to do next.  For a time, he considered going forward with the raids into Maryland and Pennsylvania with Cornwallis.  But Cornwallis opposed that and wanted to focus on Virginia.  Some of the news coming out of the south indicated that things there were not as chaotic as feared.  Lord Rawdon’s victory at Hobkirk Hill gave the British leadership hope that the south could remain secure even in Cornwallis’ absence.  

Clinton was also concerned about his own position in New York.  He still had a French Army at Newport Rhode Island under General Rochambeau, along with the main Continental Army under General Washington, in Northern New Jersey.  If Clinton sent too much of his army to assist Cornwallis, he risked being attacked and losing New York, especially if the navy did not provide backing.  In July, 1781, Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot had resigned his command and returned to Britain.  The new commander, Admiral Thomas Graves, did not get along particularly well with General Clinton.  Further, Clinton had intelligence that a new French fleet under Admiral DeGrasse was sailing for America, destination unknown.  Clinton feared that it could be part of an effort to capture New York.

The potential threat to New York is what caused Clinton to recall about half of Cornwallis’ army in Virginia.  Clinton believed Cornwallis would still have enough men to deal with the small Continental army in Virginia under Lafayette, and would give the British in New York more reinforcements if the French and Americans attacked there.  Clinton’s spies had reported to him that Washington and Rochambeau had met and conferred on just such a plan a few weeks earlier.

In mid-June, Clinton wrote out orders for Cornwallis to take a more defensive posture in Virginia, and to send half of his army to New York.  Cornwallis received these letters a few weeks later, near the end of June.

Anthony Wayne to Virginia

Meanwhile the Continentals had been caught off guard by how weak Virginia’s defenses really were.  General Washington had initially deployed Lafayette to Virginia to take on Benedict Arnold’s small army.  The enemy army grew to over 7000 with the arrival of armies under General Phillips and Cornwallis.  Lafayette knew he would have no chance in a battle and withdrew his men  north and west to avoid a confrontation.

Anthony Wayne

Washington provided some additional support by sending General Anthony Wayne with about 800 soldiers for the Pennsylvania line to join Lafayette in Virginia.  Wayne had been fighting under Washington for several years, and had a reputation as an aggressive warrior who would go after the enemy.

Wayne commanded the Pennsylvania line. These were the same soldiers who had mutinied in January.  Although a political compromise had brought the men back into service without punishment, Wayne knew he might still have problems.

The Pennsylvania soldiers grumbled about having to bail out Virginia when it was well known that Virginia had never come close to meeting its enlistment obligations for the Continental Army and didn’t seem to want to turn out to defend itself.  Pennsylvanians, who had seen years of war, considered it appropriate that the Virginians dig themselves out of the current British attack.

More significantly, the soldiers had not been paid for months.  Despite promises made after the January mutiny the men remained without basics.  This led to a refusal to march to Virginia until their demands were met.  The Army stopped at York, Pennsylvania and would not move south.

Wayne was in no mood to compromise again with the Pennsylvania line.  He took pretty decisive action. He determined twelve of the leaders of the current delay.  He held immediate court martials of all twelve men.  Seven of the men were shot by firing squad. One was not killed in the volley and was ordered bayoneted to death.  General Wayne literally had to put a pistol to the executioner’s head before he would finish the job of bayonetting this man to death.  Wayne ordered the remaining five ringleaders hanged. All of them were buried and Wayne ordered the army to continue its march to Virginia.

This got the army on the move again, but the men marched slowly, only eight or nine miles per day.  Wayne also had to keep his men under guard, lest they try to desert, and he even confiscate all ammunition from his soldiers, lest they fire on their own officers.

Wayne’s army crossed into Virginia in early June, and linked up with Lafayette about a week later.  By that time, the British raid on Charlottesville was over, and Cornwallis was slowly withdrawing his forces back towards Williamsburg.

Cobbling Together an Army

Even after Lafayette and Wayne came together, the combined Continental Army consisted of less than 2000 soldiers.  Lafayette was also taking heavy criticism from the Virginia legislature for failing to engage with the British before Wayne’s arrival, allowing them to take Richmond and raid Charlottesville, among other places throughout the state.

Nevermind that the British under Cornwallis had an army of between 7000 and 8000 soldiers and that the Virginia militia had refused to turn out in numbers that were anything close to challenge the invaders.

That finally began to change. When the legislature met in June, they chose militia General Thomas Nelson to serve as  the new governor.  They gave Nelson near dictatorial powers.  They also passed laws that allowed for the confiscation of property for men opposing the turnout of the militia, and the death penalty for deserters.  They also guaranteed militia the same pay as Continental soldiers, and reduced militia terms from three months to two months.  These moves finally encouraged many locals to turn out for militia duty.

Also, the 450 Virginia Continentals under General Von Steuben also returned.  Their commander remained in North Carolina, on a sick bed. Steuben had been following his orders to link up with General Greene in South Carolina, before receiving counter-orders to return to Virginia. Steuben sent his army back to Virginia, while he personally remained in North Carolina to recuperate.

The result was that Lafayette was able to gather a combined army that was much larger.  Estimates differ on the actual size.  I’ve seen estimates ranging from 4000 to 5500 men.  It was still smaller than the enemy army under Cornwallis, but respectable enough to put up a fight.  Lafayette gave Wayne command of the advance force of the army to dog the rear of the British withdrawal.

While it was clear that Cornwallis was already pulling back at a leisurely pace, Lafayette at least wanted to make it appear that the Continentals were forcing the withdrawal.  

Battle of Green Spring

By the end of June, Cornwallis had reached Williamsburg and had received Clinton’s requests to send 3000 soldiers back to New York.  The British leadership was still debating whether to use Portsmouth or Yorktown as its base of operations. Because Yorktown did not have defenses yet, and because Cornwallis was about to lose half of his army to a deployment in New York, he chose to move to Portsmouth.

Lafayette's Map of Green Spring
This move would require shuttling his army from the north side of the James River to the south bank for the final march to Portsmouth.  The danger for the British was being caught by an enemy attack while in the middle of transporting the army across the James.  That was exactly what Lafayette hoped to do.

General Wayne marched his advance force of about 900 Continentals toward the British rearguard.  Lafayette personally joined Wayne’s advance force to scout out the enemy, even though the main Continental Army and militia were still miles back from the advance force.

Cornwallis had begun moving his army across the James River, using the Jamestown Ferry, just southwest of Williamsburg.  On the morning of July 6, Wayne marched his advance force toward the Ferry, hoping to attack the British rearguard before the entire army could cross the river.

The American advance encountered British pickets early that afternoon at the Green Spring Plantation, about five miles west of Williamsburg and about two miles north of the Jamestown Ferry.  

Wayne deployed his men, consisting of about 500 men of the Pennsylvania line, about 200 riflemen, and a few light artillery pieces to attack the British rearguard.  He held a couple of hundred men in reserve, with the main army still several hours’ march behind them. Meanwhile Lafayette rode down to the James River to get a better view of the battle.  

Wayne’s advance pushed back the British pickets and pushed forward to harass the enemy rear.  Meanwhile, Lafayette got into position to observe the enemy.  He saw lines of redcoats in the swamps near where Wayne was approaching.  He realized immediately it’s-a-trap!  Cornwallis had only sent his baggage across the river.  He still had his entire army of over 7000 men hidden in position to take on Wayne’s advance force of about 700.

Lafayette, however, was too far away from Wayne to give him any warning.  Around 5PM, Wayne’s line seized an abandoned British cannon on the road. That was the signal for the British attack.  British artillery opened up on Wayne’s line with canister and grapeshot, followed by a bayonet charge by infantry.

Wayne feared that a withdrawal would turn into a route much like the Paoli Massacre, where his men would be run down and slaughtered.  Rather than retreat, Wayne ordered his own artillery to fire, then ordered his own men to charge into the superior British lines.  This act of bravado caught the British by surprise, and halted the British advance.  General Cornwallis then personally led a new British charge into the American lines, finally forcing the American withdrawal.  

By this time Lafayette had caught up to Wayne’s forces, only to have his horse shot out from under him.  The Americans withdrew, losing two of their field cannons.  British reports indicate the loss of 5 officers and 70 men, while Lafayette reported losing about 140.

The following morning, Cornwallis began really ferrying his army across the river.  Banastre Tarleton scouted the enemy camp about six miles away, and recommended an attack.  But Cornwallis had already been to this party.  He knew that the Americans would likely just withdraw further upriver and avoid a battle.  Cornwallis had already sent his baggage to Portsmouth, and had no desire to start chasing the Continentals back across Virginia.

American Withdrawal

Cornwallis was correct that Lafayette was in no mood for another battle.  He withdrew most of his army back to Richmond.  Wayne’s forces established themselves at Westover.

Lafayette was critical of Wayne’s charge into a superior enemy.  Other generals, inducing General Muhlenberg who had been with the main army in Virginia also called Wayne’s charge impetuous.  The public, however, seemed enthralled by the bravado.  The New Jersey Gazette referred to him as “Mad Anthony” for his action.

Lafayette also received praise from Virginians for forcing the British back to the coast.  He had to release most of his militia to return home, thus shrinking his available army back to under 2000 Continentals and only a handful of militia.

Cornwallis unleashed Tarleton for a few raids in August, but no more major offensives came from the British side.  Meanwhile, Lafayette began writing to Washington about the lack of men, food, and equipment, and his desire to rejoin Washington in New Jersey.

Washington, however, ordered Lafayette to remain in Virginia, and keep the British bottled up if possible, until a larger force could come to Virginia and deal with them.

New Plans

On July 8, with most of his army across the river and on their way to Portsmouth, Cornwallis received new orders from General Clinton.  Clinton called off his early request to take 3000 soldiers back to New York, and instead suggested that Cornwallis use them to raid Philadelphia.  They would join up with another force sent by Clinton from New York.  

When Cornwallis arrived in Portsmouth a few days later, he received several more letters from Clinton, including one that Clinton had written in May disapproving of Cornwallis’ decision to leave the Carolinas and go to Virginia.

With the flurry of letters from Clinton, each of which seemed to describe a contradictory strategy, Cornwallis was unsure what to do. Part of the problem was that Secretary Germain had written to Clinton, telling him not to hamstring Cornwallis in Virginia.  Germain thought Clinton was behaving too timidly and saw Cornwallis as an active general who was actually accomplishing things.

Cornwallis had opposed a suggested raid on Philadelphia in May, and still opposed it now.  But since those were the most recent orders that he had received, he began making plans to put part of his army on transports, to move up the Chesapeake Bay, presumably landing near where General Howe had landed at Head of Elk years earlier on his advance on Philadelphia.  On July 20, the first transport, carrying Colonel Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers had boarded a transport.  Then, another letter arrived from Clinton calling off the entire plan to raid Philadelphia.  The following day, Cornwallis received another letter from Clinton telling him to secure a Chesapeake port for the British Navy.  He told Cornwallis to use his discretion on whether he should keep his entire army for that purpose, or send half of them back to New York.  In some ways, this seemed like a trap.  If Cornwallis kept his entire army, and the Americans attacked New York, Clinton could blame Cornwallis for failing to send the requested reinforcements.

Cornwallis opted to keep his entire army, and chose to build his naval port at Yorktown rather than Portsmouth. The location was more defensible, and would give his army more opportunities to forage for food in the area around Williamsburg.  Having his entire army would give him the workforce necessary to build the necessary defenses.  

Cornwallis spent a hot August destroying and evacuating the British base at Portsmouth and digging new defenses at Yorktown.

Next Week, we head up to New York to take a closer look at Washington’s plans to attack the British in Manhattan.

- - -

Next Episode 290 Grand Reconnaissance

Previous Episode 288 Raid on Monticello

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Further Reading


Saberton, Ian “The Aborted Virginia Campaign and its Aftermath, May to August 1781” Journal of the American Revolution, Nov. 23, 2020.

Robison, Conor “The Battle of Green Spring: A Footnote on the Road to Yorktown” Journal of the American Revolution, November 10, 2022.

Hatch, Charles E. Jr. “The ‘Affair Near James Island’ (or, ‘The Battle of Green Spring’)”
The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, July 1945 (volume 53), pp. 172–96.

Conrad, Bryan. “Lafayette and Cornwallis in Virginia, 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 2, 1934, pp. 100–04. JSTOR,

Urwin, Gregory J. W. “When Freedom Wore a Red Coat: How Cornwallis’ 1781 Campaign Threatened the Revolution in Virginia.” Army History, no. 68, 2008, pp. 6–23. JSTOR,

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Clinton, Henry The Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B. relative to his conduct during part of his command of the King's troops in North America, 1783. 

Eckenrode, H.J. The Revolution in Virginia, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1916. 

Harrell, Isaac Samuel Loyalism in Virginia; chapters in the economic history of the Revolution, New York, AMS Press, 1965. 

Johnston, Henry P. The Yorktown Campaign and the surrender of Cornwallis, 1781, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881. 

Kapp Friedrich The Life of Frederick William Von Steuben, New York: Mason Bros. 1859. 

Tarleton, Banastre A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America, London: T. Cadell 1787. 

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Cecere, Michael The Invasion of Virginia, 1781, Westholme Publishing, 2017. 

Gottschalk, Louis R. Lafayette and the Close of the American Revolution, Univ. of Chicago, 1942 

Kranish, Michael Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010. 

Nelson, Paul D. Anthony Wayne, Soldier of the Early Republic, Indiana Univ. Press, 1985 (borrow on 

Palmer, John M. General von Steuben, Yale Univ. Press, 1937 (borrow on

Ward, Harry M. Richmond during the Revolution, 1775-83, Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 

Wickwire, Franklin B. Cornwallis, The American Adventure, Houghton Mifflin, 1970

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

ARP288 Raid on Monticello

We last left General Charles Cornwallis and the British southern army in Episode 280, following their victory at Guilford Courthouse.  I’ve talked about how Nathanael Greene the Continentals moved into the Carolinas, and about how the war in Virginia began to spin up, but I’ve only mentioned as an aside that Cornwallis remained in Wilmington, North Carolina. This week, I want to focus on what Cornwallis was doing.

Retreat from Guilford Courthouse

Following the battle of Guilford Courthouse, the British remained on the battlefield for a few days, mostly tending to the wounded.  General Cornwallis sent a message to General Greene saying that the British were trying to attend to the enemy wounded but did not have the resources.  He asked Greene to send surgeons to attend to the American wounded.

Lord Cornwallis

Remember that, even before the battle, Cornwallis has burned his supply wagons and marched his army all over North Carolina with almost no rations.  Even his non-wounded men were exhausted and hungry.

The British also captured four American canons and about 1300 muskets.  They took the cannons with them.  They distributed some of the muskets to loyalist militia, but had to destroy hundreds of them.  Thus just couldn't carry them.  The British also took several hundred prisoners.  But without the resources to feed or guard them, Cornwallis ended up releasing most of them on parole.

Cornwallis managed to collect a few wagons and sent many of the British wounded back to Wilmington.  Some of the wounded had to be dragged on litters.  Sixty-four men who were deemed too wounded to survive the trip were left at a nearby Quaker meetinghouse, where at least a quarter of them died over the next couple of weeks.

After several days, Cornwallis began marching his army east.  They first headed to Cross Creek, where they were told that they could find loyalists and supplies.  It was there that Cornwallis issued his proclamation that declared victory in North Carolina and granted amnesty to almost anyone who would surrender themselves within the next month.

The people, however, realized that despite the battlefield victory at Guilford Courthouse, the British were retreating.  Even those inclined to support the loyalist cause were not inclined to join the army at this time.  They had seen too many times loyalists joining the British, only to have the army move on to another colony.  At that point the loyalists and their families became targets for patriot wrath.  Any hopes to find recruits and food from the loyalist Scots at Cross Creek proved very disappointing.

Instead of being able to rest and recuperate there, the army had to continue its march to Wilmington, scouring the region as they marched to find any food for the hungry soldiers.  Despite leaving behind some of the worst wounded, dozens more wounded died on the journey back to Wilmington, leaving a trail of British graves along the way.  Among those who died was Colonel James Webster, who had been wounded at Guilford Courthouse.


On April 7, about three weeks after the battle, the British army stumbled into Wilmington where it hoped to rest and recuperate.  Cornwallis spent the next few months trying to get commendations or promotions for officers who had performed well and trying to agree to a prisoner exchange with General Greene.  

Cornwallis Headquarters in Wilmington
He also had to decide what to do next.  One option was to move south and support Lord Rawdon at Camden.  Cornwallis knew the Continentals were headed there.  Another option was to move north into Virginia and join up with the larger army under General William Phillips that had recently landed at Portsmouth.

Cornwallis was inclined to move north.  He did not think he could move his army fast enough to help Rawdon.  Either Rawdon would be successful without him, or would not.  If not, his army of less than 1500 men would likely have to retreat to Charleston and sit there doing nothing, unless he could receive reinforcements.  That seemed highly unlikely. He did, however, see an opportunity to retake Virginia.  He wrote to General Clinton, seeking permission to march north.

Before Clinton could reply, Cornwallis left Wilmington on April 25, marching his army of about 1500 men north toward Virginia.  He had been in Wilmington for less than three weeks.  It took about two weeks to get to the Virginia border, nearly 200 miles from Wilmington.  There, he heard news of Rawdon’s victory at Hobkirk Hill.  Confident that the southern army was secure, he crossed into Virginia the following day, May 13.

Into Virginia

About a week before, Cornwallis had written General William Phillips to tell him that he planned to join their armies at Petersburg, Virginia.  The army made its slow march the 70 miles to Petersburg.  When Cornwallis arrived on May 20, he found General Benedict Arnold in command.  Phillips had died of a fever five days earlier.

By joining the two armies, Cornwallis had a combined force of about 7000 soldiers.  Cornwallis believed that he could go on the offensive and take the entire state of Virginia.  But General Clinton’s orders to General Phillips had been to use the army in Virginia to protect the base at Portsmouth and only engage in short raids into the interior.  Cornwallis felt obliged to wait for additional orders from Clinton before committing to any new major offensive.

With General Arnold’s agreement, Cornwallis wanted to move the base at Portsmouth across the James River to Yorktown.  The new location was seen as more defensible and gave better access to food.  they didn't actually make the move at this point, but this is what they were considering at the time. Cornwallis would also attempt to take Richmond and push out the smaller Continental Army there under General Lafayette.

Byrd Plantation at Westover 

Cornwallis moved the bulk of his army back to the Byrd Plantation at Westover, just south of Richmond.  The Virginia legislators had already abandoned the town, and agreed to meet further to the west in Charlottesville.

In the end, taking Richmond proved to be a non-event.  Hopelessly outnumbered, Lafayette withdrew his Continental Army of 1000 men out of Richmond before the British arrived.  Lafayette was still awaiting the arrival of 800 Continental reinforcements under the Command of General Anthony Wayne.  Even if those reinforcements arrived, the British army opposing them would be four times their size.  Lafayette took a page from General Greene’s strategy.  He would not take on the entire army in a conclusive battle.  Instead, he would stay close and use raids to harass the enemy but focus on keeping his smaller army intact.

The British under Cornwallis continued to pursue Lafayette, ignoring the capital and hoping to capture the Continentals.  Cornwallis hoped to make Lafayette, who he just called “the boy” in letters, a British prisoner and send him in chains back to New York.  If Cornwallis could capture or destroy the small Continental force under Lafayette, Virginia would be defenseless.

The Virginia militia, as I’ve said in earlier episodes, had proven nearly useless.  General von Steuben had collected about a thousand militia, which he had managed to use to slow the British under General Phillips back in May.  But aside from that, the bulk of the militia refused to turn out at all.  

Throughout the state, local communities were engaged in draft riots, refusing to serve in the Continental Army.  The main reason Steuben had been in Virginia was to oversee the raising of these new recruits, which they had hoped to deploy south to General Greene during the fighting in the Carolinas.

Local resistance to service in the Continental Army seemed to carry over into militia duty.  While many of the draft protesters said they would serve in the militia, but not as Continentals, when it came time to turn out for militia duty, they seemed quite reluctant.  Once reason for reluctance was a concern that militiamen would be compelled to join the Continentals.  Virginians in the west, who had felt the eastern part of the state had never supported them when they were under attack by Indian tribes, seemed to have no desire to support the eastern regions now that the British Army was occupying their land.

The few militia that did turn out for duty often had no guns or ammunition.  They also demanded to return home promptly after 90 days, regardless of any immediate threat.

Point of Fork Raid

By the beginning of June, Steuben had only about 500 or 600 men under his command. Virginia had received a quota from Congress to provide more than 3000 Continental recruits, but this was all that Steuben had been able to raise after months of effort.  

Many were not armed, had no uniforms or shoes, and were in no condition to fight.  Steuben goal was still to march his army into the Carolinas, despite the British marching through Virginia.  Steuben hoped that by marching to join Greene in the Carolinas, he could get at least part of the British army to follow him out of Virginia.

Baron von Steuben

Before he could march anywhere Steuben needed to equip his men.  He marched for the Point of Fork Arsenal, which was along the James River where it merges with the Rivanna River, about 40 miles northwest of Richmond.  Steuben had hoped to supply his small army from the arsenal, and also to protect its desperately needed supplies from the enemy.

At the same time, General Cornwallis, also aware of the supply depot at Port of Fork, had deployed a loyalist force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe to destroy the supplies.

Simcoe had deployed to Virginia from New York under General Arnold.  Although Simcoe was a regular, he commanded a regiment of loyalists known as the Queen’s Rangers, made up primarily of New Yorkers.  By this time, the regiment had dwindled to about 100 men. To supplement the rangers, Cornwallis also gave Simcoe the 71st infantry, about 300 regulars.

On June 3, Steuben learned from local militia cavalrymen that the enemy was approaching.  He sent out scouts to get more details and deployed a force of 30 soldiers to slow any advance on his position. But the Queen’s Rangers managed to capture or kill any scouts, as well as the advance force, resulting in Steuben having no good intelligence on the enemy.

By June 5, Steuben saw the enemy setting up camp across the river from him.  Steuben’s force of Continentals actually outnumbered the enemy. But Simcoe deployed most of his forces along the river, while setting up some tents and campfires in the woods behind his army.  This gave the impression that Simcoe’s force was only an advance guard ahead of the entire British army under Cornwallis.

Believing that to be the case, Steuben used rafts and canoes to move his army across the river behind his army to escape the British.  The following morning, the British crossed into the Point of Fork Arsenal to find it abandoned. 

Because it was abandoned in haste, the Continentals had left behind most of the guns and supplies held there, which fell into the enemy’s hands.

Steuben marched his army to the south, still following his plant to join up with Greene’s army in the Carolinas. But he then got word from Greene that he should remain in Virginia and assist Lafayette in the defense of the state. So Steuben's Continentals turned around and returned to the fighting in Virginia.

Charlottesville Raid

About the same time that Cornwallis deployed Simcoe to take Port of Fork, he also deployed Colonel Banastre Tarleton to raid Charlottesville.  Tarleton, of course, had served under Cornwallis in the Carolinas, proving himself to be an aggressive leader who often defeated the enemy through surprise.  Tarleton’s speed and aggression, however, cost him at Cowpens, where he lost most of his legion.  Following Cowpens, Tarleton rebuilt his legion and led Cornwallis’ column on the march from Wilmington into Virginia.

Many British officers and men, however, were reluctant to serve under Tarleton following his loss at Cowpens.  They believed that the colonel’s recklessness had led to the loss of his men, and did not want to become cannon fodder for Tarleton’s next reckless raid.  The 71st Regiment which had marched with Simcoe had originally been assigned to Tarleton.  Cornwallis moved the regiment to Simcoe’s command after receiving protests from the regiment about serving under Tarleton.

Tarleton took a force of 180 dragoons and another 70 mounted infantry on a hard ride toward Charlottesville.  His goal was to capture as many legislators there as possible, along with Governor Jefferson.

As he got close to the town, Tarleton stopped at several plantations, looking for state officials who might be staying there.  After a brief stop at the Cuckoo Tavern on the evening of June 3, Tarleton and his men launched a dawn raid on Castle Hill, a plantation owned by Thomas Walker.  There, the dragoons captured several legislators who had been staying there.

According to local history, the family delayed Tarleton by offering him a meal of fried chicken.  They hoped it would buy time for others in Charlottesville to make their escape.

One of those present at the Cuckoo Tavern the night before was a young man named Jack Jouett.  The patriot realized that Tarleton was likely headed to Monticello.  Jouett rode all night using side paths to avoid British patrols, reaching Monticello at around 4:30 AM the following morning.


Receiving the warning, Jefferson seemed in no rush to leave.  He ordered a carriage to get ready but then sat down to breakfast.  Several legislators were staying with him. Jefferson recommended that they leave so they headed into Charlottesville.  Jefferson put his wife and daughters into a carriage that would carry them to a neighbor’s plantation about 14 miles away.

Jefferson then remained at Monticello, trying to determine the warning was true and if the British really were on their way to capture him.  He rode over to a taller hill known as Montalto to see if he could get a view of the British approach.  He scanned the region with his telescope, saw nothing and started to return to Monticello.  However, he discovered he had dropped his sword and returned to Montalto to retrieve it.  This time, he noticed a British column in the distance. 

Even so, believing he had time, Jefferson returned to Monticello.  Jouett had ridden on to Charlottesville to warn the legislature. They immediately passed a resolution to leave and to regroup at Staunton, then everyone made their escape.

When Tarleton’s dragoons rode into town later that day, they managed to capture a handful of legislators who had lingered after Jouett’s warning.  Tarleton also hoped to liberate a POW camp at Charlottesville that contained thousands for prisoners, many still held from the surrender at Saratoga.  The Americans, however, had removed the prisoners some time earlier.  Tarleton only recovered about twenty prisoners who had been hiding in the nearby woods for several weeks.

One of the legislators captured was Daniel Boone.  Because he was dressed in frontier garb, he tried to pass himself as just some guy passing through town.  But when Jouett called him “Captain Boone” by mistake, the soldiers grabbed him, thinking he might be an officer.  Boone spent the night in custody, but managed to convince his captors that his title was simply an honorific from fighting in earlier Indian wars.  They ended up letting him go.

Meanwhile back at Monticello, another militia officer named Christopher Hudson, unaware that Jefferson had already been warned, stopped by to make sure the governor was gone.  He found Jefferson still home, sorting through papers. Hudson had spied some of Tarleton’s dragoons riding up the hill toward the main house.  Hudson convinced Jefferson that they needed to leave, now!  The men rode into the woods, avoiding British patrols and eventually catching up with the carriage carrying Jefferson’s family to safety.

Within five minutes of their departure, the British rode up to the mansion. They managed to capture several slaves, including Martin Hemings, who had been hiding the family silver. An officer put a gun to Hemings’ head and said he would shoot unless the man told him where Jefferson was.  Hemings said to go ahead and shoot, at which point the officer gave up.

The soldiers remained in the house for about 18 hours, drinking a fair amount of Jefferson’s wine. But they did not burn Monticello, which seems surprising given Tarleton’s reputation.  Some say it was out of appreciation for the good treatment of prisoners who had been held in the area.  

The soldiers did destroy over a thousand muskets and other military supplies held at Charlottesville. They also burned tobacco and several out-buildings on the plantation. 

The British who had been on the march and hungry for so long, enjoyed the region’s bounty.  They ate and drank well, and seized many horses that local owners had refused to give to the Continental Army.  They also took on many slaves, some of whom were used as laborers. Some became personal servants for officers.  Most ended up dying from disease in the following months.

Cornwallis set up headquarters at another of Jefferson’s Plantations: Elk Hill, about twenty miles southeast of Monticello.


The British, however, did not remain.  Cornwallis’ primary target had been the Continental Army under Lafayette.  When Lafayette refused to stand and fight, Cornwallis was not inclined to repeat his dance with Nathanael Greene, where he just chased the enemy all over the state, exhausting his men.

The General did pass through Richmond, where he burned some more government buildings, and also the nearby tobacco warehouses that Arnold had spared.

Cornwallis planned to wipe out the many supply depots and food sources in Virginia, planning a series of new raids throughout the state.  Then he received his orders from General Clinton.  It seems that General Clinton had never wanted Cornwallis to go to Virginia in the first place. He wanted him to secure the Carolinas.  But with Cornwallis now in Virginia, there was not much Clinton could do.  He did, however, order Cornwallis to confine his mission to securing a position on the coast, and not to continue trying to capture all of Virginia.  

Clinton also ordered that Cornwallis send about half of his army back to New York.  Clinton had intelligence that General Washington and Rochambeau were planning an attack on New York City.  Clinton needed all of the forces he could muster to defend against that attack. With that, the British offensive in Virginia came to an end.

Next week: Although the British begin to pull back, the Americans continue the fight in Virginia at the battle of Green Spring.

- - -

Next Episode 289 Green Spring 

Previous Episode 287 Fort Ninety-Six 

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Further Reading


“The Decision that Lost Britain the War” Journal of the American Revolution, Jan. 8, 2019.

Cornwallis headquarters in Wilmington:

Conrad, Bryan. “Lafayette and Cornwallis in Virginia, 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 2, 1934, pp. 100–04. JSTOR,

Urwin, Gregory J. W. “When Freedom Wore a Red Coat: How Cornwallis’ 1781 Campaign Threatened the Revolution in Virginia.” Army History, no. 68, 2008, pp. 6–23. JSTOR,

“V. Deposition of Christopher Hudson respecting Tarleton’s Raid in June 1781, 26 July 1805,” Founders Online, National Archives,

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Eckenrode, H.J. The Revolution in Virginia, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1916. 

Harrell, Isaac Samuel Loyalism in Virginia; chapters in the economic history of the Revolution, New York, AMS Press, 1965. 

Kapp Friedrich The Life of Frederick William Von Steuben, New York: Mason Bros. 1859. 

A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America, by Banastre Tarleton, London: T. Cadell 1787.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Cecere, Michael The Invasion of Virginia, 1781, Westholme Publishing, 2017. 

Kranish, Michael Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010. 

Palmer, John M. General von Steuben, Yale Univ. Press, 1937 (borrow on

Ward, Harry M. Richmond during the Revolution, 1775-83, Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 

Wickwire, Franklin B. Cornwallis, The American Adventure, Houghton Mifflin, 1970

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

ARP287 Fort Ninety-Six

Last week we left off with the patriots retaking Augusta, Georgia.  After Cornwallis limped away from the battle at Guilford Courthouse and moved his army to Wilmington, North Carolina on the coast, British control of the southern colonies was pretty much limited to the coastal towns of Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.

Fort Ninety-Six

The last inland hold-out was Fort Ninety Six in the South Carolina backcountry.  Ninety Six had been a frontier town for decades.  It got its name because it was believed to be ninety-six miles from the Cherokee village of Keowee.  Since its founding in 1737, Nine-six had been an important trading post between colonists and native tribes.  By the Revolution it had grown into a town of several hundred people, with a courthouse, a jail, and various taverns and shops.

After the British occupied South Carolina in 1780, they had set up a string of outposts in order to pacify the colony.  Fort Ninety Six became one of the key British outposts.  Deep in the backcountry, Ninety six is about 150 miles north west of Charleston, and about fifty miles north of Augusta.

Fort Ninety Six sat on the high ground near the town.  It was a well defended earthen star fort, with two block houses and ditches around the exterior.  When the British moved north, Cornwallis left Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger in command of the fort.

John Harris Cruger

Cruger was a New Yorker.  His family had a large sugar and molasses business in Jamaica, but lived in New York.  Cruger went to school at King’s College and managed the family business.  Before the Revolution, Cruger was a prominent member of New York society.  He was governor of King’s College and sat on the Governor’s Royal Council.  

When the war began, Cruger had to lay low given his loyalist leanings. Once the British took New York in late 1776, Cruger took a commission as a lieutenant colonel in the British army and took command of a battalion in the brigade commanded by his father-in-law Oliver De Lancey.

Most of Cruger’s men were New England loyalists.  His unit traveled south for the first real British incursion in the region, helping to capture Savannah in late 1778.  He also led his men at the Siege of Charleston and the Battle of Camden.  In June, 1780, shortly after Charleston fell to the British, Cruger took command at Fort Ninety Six.

John Harris Cruger

Cruger wasted no time building up the defenses.  He laid out the star fort design and had militia and slaves spend months building up huge earthen walls and other defenses.  The fort became a loyalist base of operations for raids and for holding rebel prisoners.  

As a result, the fort became a target once the Continentals under General Nathanael Greene began to reassert control of the region.  With the British withdrawal from Camden back to Charleston in the spring of 1781, Fort Ninety-six became the largest in-land loyalist stronghold in the south.

Cruger knew that the Continentals would target his fort.  He spent the prior year building up defenses and preparing for an attack.  His star fort on the high ground was only part of that.  Cruger’s men also built a series of embankments and trenches, securing a local water supply in case of a siege.  

For his garrison, Cruger had his own First Battalion of 165 New York Loyalists, along with the Third Battalion of 253 New Jersey loyalists.  He also had several  hundred local loyalist militia at the fort.  To support the garrison, he had three small brass cannons.  Cruger offered to let the militia leave.  If they were defeated in battle at the fort, there was a good chance they could be executed.  Most of the militia, however, stayed.  If they returned home, they were almost as likely to be killed by patriot partisans.  These men were ready to die at the fort, in support of king and country.

Before Lord Rawdon had left Camden, he had ordered Cruger to abandon Fort Ninety-Six and withdraw to Augusta.  Cruger never received those orders since the patriots intercepted the couriers.  

The Siege

In May, 1781, Greene’s Continental Army arrived at Fort Ninety-Six.  Greene had over 900 Continentals, supplemented by several hundred more militia.  Even with his overwhelming numbers, Greene was doubtful that he could push through the fort’s defenses, at least not without suffering heavy casualties.  Additional forces under Andrew Pickens and Light Horse Harry Lee were still besieging Augusta when he arrived and might become available later.  Greene, therefore opted to besiege the fort and compel its surrender.  The siege began on May 22.

The Polish engineer, Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko, oversaw the siege.  Kosciuszko had been a key to building the American defenses at West Point and other places, but had come south with Horatio Gates to lend his services there.  When Greene replaced Gates, Kosciuszko remained.  Under Greene, Kosciuszko was critical to getting the army across various rivers as they dueled with the British under Cornwallis.

Tadeusz Kościuszko
He used the traditional siege tactic of digging zig-zag trenches, moving closer to the fort walls over time, while protecting his men from approaching over an open field.  Cruger countered by sending out raiding parties to attack the trenches during the night.  He also fired on the trenches with his cannons.  These efforts slowed down the advance, but could not stop it.  

After about two weeks, the Americans had dug trenches within 30 yards of the fort’s walls.  The attackers also built a tower, a tactic they had used to take several other smaller forts.  The tower allowed the Americans riflemen to kill some of the artillerymen in the fort. Cruger countered this by using sandbags to increase the height of one of his own towers in order to shoot the Americans in their tower.  He also tried to use hot shot from his cannons to set the American tower on fire.

The Americans were able to protect the tower, and countered by using flaming arrows to fire into the fort.  Cruger had to destroy several wooden roofs to prevent them being set on fire.

On June 3, Greene sent his adjutant, Colonel Otho Holland Williams to approach the fort under a flag of truce to demand its surrender. Cruger refused and the siege continued.

Several days later, on June 7, Light Horse Harry Lee arrived with his legion of 150 men.  Lee had taken Augusta and left the militia in command there so that he could get to Fort Ninety-six and assist Greene. His legion had with them prisoners captured at Augusta.  Part of his legion, with the prisoners, passed along the road right next to the fort. 

Although Lee later said that this march was made by mistake, Col. Cruger took it as a provocation: marching prisoners in front of his men.  He ordered his cannons to open fire on the column, killing both the enemy and their prisoners.

Lee used his men to focus on the blockhouse on the other side of the fort.  He was trying to cut off the fort’s water supply.  Cruger continued to use night raids to keep the attackers at bay.  Cruger also became aware of his vulnerability to losing his water supplies.  He dug a well inside the fort, but it came up dry.  Instead, he had some of his black loyalists use a communications trench to sneak down to the water supply at night and carry water back to the garrison. Despite his efforts, Cruger knew that the British garrison’s days were numbered unless a relief force could come for them.


Fortunately for Cruger, that is just what the British hoped to do.  Lord Rawdon became aware of the situation from his new headquarters in Charleston.  During the siege, a British fleet arrived bringing Rawdon three new regiments of British regulars.

Even so, two things made it difficult for Rawdon to launch a relief force to rescue the garrison at  Fort Ninety-Six.  First, he was really sick with malaria.  For some time, it was unclear if he could even remain in a saddle.  

Lord Rawdon

Second, he was not in command at Charleston.  The man left in charge of Charleston, Lieutenant Colonel Nisbet Balfour approved of Rawdon’s plan to relive the fort.  However, the arrival of reinforcements also included Lieutenant Colonel Paston Gould, who commanded one of the regiments. Colonel Gould had seniority over both Balfour and Rawdon, giving him authority to make all command decisions.

Rawdon wanted to take two of the three new regiments with him to relieve Fort Ninety Six.  Gould was concerned about the defenses at Charleston and refused to let Rawdon march away with the majority of his regulars.  There were rumors that a French fleet might be on its way to Charleston.  If the bulk of the army was inland when the French arrived, it could spell disaster.

Finally, the officers reached a compromise.  The three regiments would remain in Charleston, but Rawdon could take with him the light infantry and grenadier companies from each of the regiments. In all, Rawdon had about 1800 men in his relief force.  If you add in the Fort Ninety-Six garrison British forces would outnumber the Americans by nearly 2-1 once Rawdon arrived.

General Greene had good intelligence.  He learned of the relief column even before it left Charleston.  He sent dispatches to General Sumter and Colonel Marion, hoping they could use militia forces to attack the column before it could reach the fort.

If the British had command disputes, they were nothing to what the Americans seemed to face.  At first, Sumter gathered his forces, promising 600 militia, but instead of attacking the British on the march, he ordered his men and Sumter’s to march to Fort Ninety-six where they could face the relief column together.  Then Sumter got the idea that Lord Rawdon’s actual target was Fort Granby, where Sumter had his supply base by this time. So instead of marching his troops, he held back to see if he needed to defend Fort Granby instead.  Marion, who did not seem to want to fight alongside Greene nor Sumter, simply wrote to Greene that he could not give up his current position without allowing the enemy access to the region’s food and supplies.

By the time everyone got on the same page, Rawdon’s relief column had passed through Orangeburg and was headed directly to Fort Ninety-Six.  Sumter’s militia army was behind them.

One of Sumter’s militia regiments did attack   Rawdon’s rear guard.  Rawdon had deployed foragers and it looked like the Americans could strike a devastating blow.  South Carolina militia Colonel Charles Myddleton led between 150 and 200 militia horsemen against the British rear.

Unfortunately, Rawdon had made it look like his rear was in disarray in order to invite just such an attack.  British mounted infantry, hidden nearby, charged the militia, landing a devastating blow.  The surprised militia lost 34 killed.  Myddleton returned to Sumter’s camp with only 45 militia.  The remainder had likely fled into the woods and scattered.  The British suffered the loss of four officers and between twenty and thirty soldiers killed.


With Lord Rawdon’s relief column approaching the fort, and with Sumter and Marion nowhere around with their militia armies, General Greene decided he could not continue the siege.  Colonel Kosciuszko had been trying to dig a tunnel under the fort wall to blow it up, but it would not be completed in time before the relief column arrived.  The only decision was whether to try to storm the fort before the relief column arrived, or just withdraw.

Colonel Lee strongly supported an attack on the fort.  Withdrawing without a fight would harm morale and might impact the willingness of militia to turn out in the future.

On the morning of June 18, two regiments under the command of Colonel Richard Campbell stormed the fort wall.  They sent forward a “forlorn hope” to cut through the defenses while the rest of the attackers kept up a stream of fire against the fort to prevent them from firing on the attackers.

Seeing this attack, Colonel Cruger, sent two companies of provincials out of the back of the fort.  Each unit ran around the fort from a different direction, storming the American forlorn hope from both sides with bayonets.  The Americans put up a fight but were heavily outnumbered and took heavy casualties.  In the end, they withdrew back to the main American lines.

The following morning, Greene’s army packed up and withdrew, leaving the British in control of the fort.  For once, a conflict ended without bloody recriminations.  Greene had left a guard at a house several miles from the fort to protect Cruger’s wife and children.  When he pulled out, he left that detachment behind.  Cruger, grateful for Greene’s thoughtfulness to his family, allowed the detachment safe passage to rejoin the army.

The Chase

Two days after Greene’s departure, Lord Rawdon’s relief column arrived at Fort Ninety-Six.  The following day, Rawdon learned that the Continentals were camped only sixteen miles away.  Leaving behind his baggage at the fort, Rawdon launched a night march on the night of June 22, to attack Greene’s army.

Southern Army Movements
As he did with Cornwallis, Greene continued to withdraw, avoiding an engagement with a superior force.  Rawdon pursued for a time, but was not ready to embark on a campaign that would chase the Continentals across hundreds of miles, like Cornwallis had done.  After marching about forty miles, Rawdon gave up the chase and returned to Fort Ninety-Six.

Rawdon believed that Fort Ninety-Six would remain an inviting target once he returned to Charleston.  He informed the local militia leaders that they could come with him and take possession of patriot plantations within the British lines.  If they wanted to remain, he would leave a small force of regulars to help them defend the area.

While the locals were deciding, Rawdon left about half his force at the fort, and took the other half to march back to Orangeburg, then moving toward Fort Granby to the north.  As he did, he requested another regiment of regulars from Charleston.  Although a regiment started to march, it ended up retreating due to some miscommunications.  Rawdon ended up fearing that Greene would catch him isolated with only half his forces, and withdrew again back to Fort Ninety-Six.

Greene, however, was not thinking about any sort of attack.  He was retreating back toward Charlotte, North Carolina.  He wanted to engage in a battle, but not before he had more troops.  Greene wrote to Isaac Shelby, hoping he could bring 1000 over-mountain men from the frontier.  But Shelby responded that he was in negotiation with the Cherokee and could not have his men leave their homes for at least a few weeks. 

Greene also attempted to get his promised reinforcements from Virginia.  But with the British army already in Virginia and threatening to take more of the state, Virginia was not only not sending its promised reinforcements, it was keeping any reinforcements that tried to pass through the state, to fight against the British there.  Greene wrote other leaders in the Carolinas and Georgia, but no one would commit to showing up with the numbers he needed.  Without reinforcements, Greene kept his distance.

Rawdon had marched up to the Congaree Creek, near Fort Granby, by July 1.  The brutal summer heat had taken its toll. The British had fifty soldiers die from heat exhaustion during the march.  They found themselves harassed by the enemy.  Colonel Lee managed to lure a British foraging party into an ambush, capturing three officers and 45 men, along with taking their horses and weapons.

The ambush and loss of his cavalry, convinced Rawdon to pull back to Orangeburg.  Soon thereafter, Green finally got some reinforcements after Sumter and Marion showed up.  He advanced on Orangeburg, but found the British in a good defensive position and declined to attack.  Instead, he marched around them, hoping to draw the British out of their defenses.  The British refused to take the bait.

Continental spies returned to Fort Ninety-Six, only to find that the garrison was packing up and preparing to leave. Cruger was going to join Rawdon at Orangeburg.  Before Cruger could combine his forces with Rawdon, Greene withdrew his Continentals to give them time to rest and recuperate in the high hills, away from some of the most brutal summer heat

Lord Rawdon had also had enough.  Although his army remained in Orangeburg, Rawdon sought to exercise the leave of absence that Cornwallis granted him months earlier.  He had fought this campaign through the brutal summer heat, while still suffering from malaria.  With the Continentals having withdrawn for the moment, Rawdon returned to Charleston and got on a ship bound for England.

With the British having abandoned Fort Ninety-Six, the patriot militia occupied the fort without a fight, and with it claimed control over all of South Carolina, outside of a small area around Charleston.  The Carolina militia would continue to harass the enemy over the summer, but we will have to leave those skirmishes for a future episode.  

Next Week: We're going to return to Virginia as General Cornwallis, with his larger force, attempts to control the state, including a raid on Governor Thomas Jefferson, at his home at Monticello.

- - -

Next Episode 288 Raid on Monticello 

Previous Episode 286 Sumter's Law

 Contact me via email at

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Further Reading


Kyte, George W. “Strategic Blunder: Lord Cornwallis Abandons the Carolinas, 1781.” The Historian, vol. 22, no. 2, 1960, pp. 129–44. JSTOR,

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Crow, Jeffrey (ed) The Southern Experience in the American Revolution, Univ. of NC Press, 1978.

Greene, George Washington The Life of Nathanael GreeneVol. 1Vol. 2, & Vol. 3, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press 1867-1871. 

Hartley, Cecil B. Life of Major General Henry Lee & The Life of General Thomas Sumter, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859. 

Weigley, Russell Frank The Partisan War: the South Carolina Campaign of 1780-1782, Univ. of SC Press, 1970 (borrow only). 

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Bass, Robert D. Gamecock: The Life And Campaigns Of General Thomas Sumter, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961 (borrow on

Carbone, Gerald Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010 (borrow on 

Ferling, John Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021. 

Golway, Terry Washington's General : Nathanael Greene and the triumph of the American Revolution, H. Holt, 2006. (borrow on

Lumpkin, Henry From Savannah to Yorktown: the American Revolution in the South, Univ of SC Press, 1981 (borrow on 

Nelson, Paul D. Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 2005 (borrow on 

Tonsetic, Robert L. 1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War, Casemate, 2011 (borrow on 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.