Has South Carolina’s role in the Revolutionary War been overlooked?
Most historians of the American Revolution understand that the southern theater, and the southern campaigns in particular, were truly decisive in creating the circumstances for the ultimate British defeat. … The significance of the southern campaigns has not always gotten the degree of attention that it truly deserves. The work that’s come out in the past decades has really changed that previous neglect of the southern story.
Why has the North’s role received more attention?
There are a few reasons, actually. One is the presence of George Washington. With the exception of the siege of Yorktown in 1781, he didn’t command in the southern theater. Also, for much of the war, the northern or the middle theaters really were the focal point of the main army’s efforts. It wasn’t until late in the conflict that the British shifted the bulk of their military efforts to the Carolinas, but that arguably was the most decisive phase of the war. The British staked so much on obtaining victory in the southern colonies late in the war.
How did your new book set out to continue that shift of appreciating the South’s role in the war?
In the southern theater, this is where the British attempted for the first time in the war a true wide-scale pacification effort. … This was a really major undertaking on the part of the British — to attempt to control, under force of arms, such a huge swath of territory.
Read it all from the local paper.