Skip to comments.Revolution was won around here
Posted on 07/22/2007 8:09:15 PM PDT by Pharmboy
IN MY OPINION One of the first lessons you learn when studying history is that history books are usually written by the side that wins the war. After the Civil War, the South's role in the American Revolution was relegated to practically a footnote. My 10th-grade U.S. history book basically had two paragraphs about the South's role -- the British took Charleston, there were lots of backwoods skirmishes in the Carolinas at places such as Kings Mountain and Cowpens, and the British surrendered at Yorktown. The implication was that the only battles of consequence took place within 200 miles of Boston and Bunker Hill.
Don't believe me?
True or false: More Revolutionary War soldiers were killed in South Carolina than in all the other colonies combined. True, according to Walter Edgar, author of "Partisans and Redcoats: The American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry."
Over the last two weeks, K-12 history teachers from across the country have converged in the western Piedmont to learn about the South's pivotal role in winning the American Revolution. They listened to historians like Edgar and read books like Lawrence Babits' "A Devil of a Whipping: the Battle of Cowpens."
They were here through a grant with the National Endowment for the Humanities and its Landmarks of American History Workshops. This year's classes are hosted by Converse College in Spartanburg.
On Tuesday I caught up with the group at Historic Brattonsville. They listened as Kitty Wilson-Evans told in period costume what a slave's life was like during the late 1700s. From Kay Moss, adjunct curator for 18th Century Backcountry Studies at Gastonia's Schiele Museum, they learned the role herbal medicine played during the Revolutionary War in the days before antibiotics They watched Revolutionary War re-enactors fire black powder muskets and studied the battlefield of Huck's Defeat. They also made visits to the Kings Mountain Battleground, Cowpens and Ninety-Six, S.C.
"U.S. history books have never really told the role the South played in helping win the American Revolution, and it's not just in high school, but college, too," said Melissa Walker, an associate professor of history at Converse and director of the summer workshops.
Walker, who grew up in eastern Tennessee, said that with the exception of the Overmountain Men from Tennessee who fought at Kings Mountain, she knew practically nothing about the Southern campaigns and how Patriot victories at Kings Mountain and Cowpens turned the direction of the war.
She said that even a relatively minor skirmish such as the Battle of Huck's Defeat at Brattonsville deserves to be studied and included in the pantheon of the Revolution.
On the morning of July 12, 1780, Capt. Christian Huck of the British Legion was in command of about 120 soldiers. They were camped at Brattonsville on the Williamson Plantation. Around 5 a.m. a group of about 140 Patriots attacked the British, shot Huck from his horse, wounded several others, and the rest of the British troops surrendered.
"The significance was that it was a tremendous moral victory for the Patriots because it was the first time our local militia had defeated British troops since the American Army had surrendered two months before in Charleston," Walker said. "When you add that to the victories at Kings Mountain in October and Cowpens in January, you begin to understand how an American defeat was turned into victory. ... And most of that began right here in the Carolina backcountry."
Kathy Clampett is an 11th-grade history teacher from Carrollton, Texas. It was her first visit to the Carolina battlefields. She said the biggest lesson she's learned from her visit has been the economic importance of the Southern colonies to the British.
"It's the concept of cash crops -- the rice and the indigo. That's why the South was so important to the British. Money makes the world go round, and it was even a global economy back then," Clampett said. "I can go back to my classroom this fall with a much stronger sense of how close we came to losing the war, if not for the victories down here -- far away from New England."
IN MY OPINION
Want to Know More?
E-mail Melissa Walker at email@example.com or visit the Web site: www.converse.edu/neh/outline.asp. Dan Huntley
However, I would like to soften the critcism a bit (although what he says is basically true, IMO). The battles that have always gotten the most ink were those that General Washington was present for, and he stayed in the north until Yorktown.
The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list...and those on the list, please ping your Southron Freeper friends that would like this info.
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Excellent perspective. Thanks for the *PING*
The South was where the British Army met it’s (pardon the pun) Waterloo.Ironically the American southern troops were led by a Yankee name Nathanael Greene and greatly aided by New Jersey General Daniel Morgan. Washington was stalemated by British General Henry Clinton in New York so it took the southern theater to turn the Revolution in the American favor and TURN IT IN OUR FAVOR IT DID !!!
Partisans & Redcoats by Walter Edgar tells this story well.
True enough...and although Daniel Morgan was born in NJ, he left at the age of sixteen and adopted Virginia as his home. He’s buried in Winchester (and believe me, as a Garden Stater, I would love to claim him). Greene was a Rhode Islander...and a lapsed Quaker to boot!
I had always heard of Morgan as a Virginian commanding Virginians, but I see now that he moved to the Valley of Virginia when he was a teenager.
“he left at the age of sixteen and adopted Virginia as his home’
Interesting,I didn’t know that. That’s why I come to FR to learn stuff !!!
The War Between the States has been almost a paragon of history being written by the victor, though that has slowly been changing.
George wasn’t in the 1st set of battles - Lexington/Concord, and “Bunker Hill”.
They get LOTS of ink. More than any George battle. Perhaps because they’re the 1st.
From where is that layout of King’s Mountain? I don’t think I’ve seen a print like that. I don’t think it’s Carrington’s, because he seemed to use pretty standard direct overhead views (2D) with boxes for units.
“I can go back to my classroom this fall with a much stronger sense of how close we came to losing the war, if not for the victories down here — far away from New England.”
Wow, that sort of proves my “bigotted” point about New England from last week.
She mentions New England. Yet only the very 1st battles and the siege of Boston, and later Newport, really happened up there. (Burlington is debatable, since noone could agree if it was VT or NY - but it certainly wasn’t mainstream NE at the time.) Until Arnold’s invasion of his old neighbors after Yorktown. Otherwise, a few skirmishes.
Most of the “George” battles were New York and below. Yet even this woman had to mention it as if it was all about New England.
“Washington was stalemated by British General Henry Clinton in New York”
Sounds like the wrong spin. Yes, they were both in stalemate, but Clinton was the 1 who was surrounded.
"Rogues Island" was pretty much where "lapsed" anything gravitated to, a key reason why puritans in the bordering states ordered trespassers from said colony to be shot on sight, lest they disturb the "moral order."
I didn't vote for our Junior Senator but I recommend his book.
If the central role of the South in the Revelation is a generally unknown fact, the presence of significant southern mountain sentiment for Lincoln and the Union is another.
Interesting point that I, for one, was TOTALLY unaware of. Why were the descendants of the Overmountain Men Union-sympathizers?
Well, the “Shot Heard Round the World” was significant enough to be famous even w/o The General.
In the later years of the war, the British assumed that they could win over a majority of South Carolinians to their cause, but Banastre Tarleton's brutality and other Redcoat outrages worked to the benefit of the revolutionaries. The Waxhaw massacre and other atrocities turned the state against the monarchy.
The first phase of the war occurred in New England. After the New England Colonies were freed of British forces the action moved to the Middle Colonies and then the South. The British reckoned they'd have more support in provinces where the Anglican influence was stronger, so there was no attempt to retake New England.
A lot of the troops who fought in the later phases of the war were still New Englanders who'd signed on earlier, though. That was particularly true in the Middle Colonies -- New York and Philadelphia were still in British hands and troops were tied up in battles there. But the 1st Rhode Island Regiment fought at Yorktown. It had been reorganized in 1778 as an all African-American unit.
American History PING, in case you weren’t included in the earlier ping.
I was educated in the North and had about the same amount of ink in my public school textbooks regarding the Revolutionary War battles and strategies. It was always a mystery to me why the blood was drawn out of that war but not our Civil War, which got considerably more coverage.
In the last several years I’ve been reading books on the campaigns, leaders, and character of the Revolutionary War. It remains a mystery to me why this information is shunted aside and almost all of the *glory* goes to the guys with quill, paper, and debating skills, for founding our nation.
While the orators and quill-pushers were obviously important, without the men in the field with sword, musket and cannon it all would have been an exercise in debating skills and the Union Jack would still have flown.
And what I've found from our own East Tennessee family, all the Civil War descendants of the two Watauga/Sevier associates in our ancestry were either Union soldiers or very strong Unionist sympathizers.