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Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2006

    an important contribution to Revolutionary War history

    I would take issue with some of the reviews of Edgar's book that have been posted here. While he writes from the perspective of the partisan or anti-British party in the Carolinas, Edgar does not whitewash the rebels. He makes it clear that they were just as savage as their opponents. An example is Edgar's account of the British surrender of Thicketty Fort, whose commander deemed discretion to be preferable to valor after considering what would (not might) happen to him and his men if the fort was successfully stormed. And when Edgar comments that 'it can be argued that it was the conduct of the British army of occupation that caused the savagery to descend to lower levels' (p. 123), he offers that observation as an explanation, not as an excuse. More important is Edgar's basic point: if Cornwallis and his commanders had not needlessly antagonized the anti-Tory faction in the Carolina piedmont, the members of that faction might well have acquiesced to formal British control of the Carolinas after the fall of Charleston, with obvious implications for not just American but also world history. It was the decision to impose actual control over a fractious and violent population of Carolina backwoodsmen prior to defeat of the American armies in the field and the destruction of the revolutionary government that, according to Edgar, doomed the British effort to subjugate its rebel colonies. As a final point, Partisans and Redcoats has significance beyond local history. Cornwallis' army successfully captured the capital of South Carolina, put the rebel government in that colony out of business, and achieved formal control of the territory in a brief, three months campaign in early 1780. Then, by failing to understand the motives and interests of the members of a violent and divided society, the British were sucked into a partisan war that they could not win. The parallels between South Carolina during the American Revolution and Iraq today are way too close for comfort.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2002

    Loyalist Devils and Patriot Saints

    A lively but heavily biased account of partisan warfare in 1780 South Carolina. Professor Walter Edgar,in his introduction, paints the actions of Lord Cornwallis and his subordinate commanders, Lt Col Banastre Tarleton of the British Legion and Major James Wemyss of the British 63rd Regiment, that had they been committed in the 1990's, would very likely have caused them to be hauled before the International Court at the Hague as war criminals. He states that the british and their loyalist allies committed numerous atrocities. They took civilians as hostages; they wantonly and unlawfully destroyed and appropriated property not justified by military necessity: they deprived prisoners of war and civilian of the right of fair trials: they compelled prisoners of war and civilians to serve in the forces of a hostile power; they unlawfully confined civilians; they destroyed and willfully damaged institutions dedicated to religion; they plundered public and private property. Against a civilian population, they committed torture, imprisonment, murder and other inhumane acts. He considers the cruel acts of the patriots in return as simple frontier justice, not cruelty. Edgar uncritically quotes from patriot sources to support his pro-patriot position. British and Loyalist version of events are generally either ignored or treated as self serving or hypocritical. For those who want a more balanced version of events in 1780 South Carolina, I would recommend 'The Road to Guilford Courthouse' by John Buchanan, a far superior book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2002

    a very interesting book

    An account of the Revolutionary war in the South, it is a part of the war that is not often spoken of. It is a very different account of the Revolution, one which talks about the dirty little secret of partisan warfare in the South. A good read

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