The Quaker and the Gamecock: Nathanael Greene, Thomas Sumter, and the Revolutionary War for the Soul of the South

As the newly appointed commander of the Southern Continental Army in December 1780, Nathanael Greene quickly realized victory would not only require defeating the British Army, but also subduing the region's brutal civil war. "The division among the people is much greater than I imagined, and the Whigs and the Tories persecute each other, with little less than savage fury,” wrote Greene.

Part of Greene’s challenge involved managing South Carolina's determined but unreliable Patriot militia, led by Thomas Sumter, the famed "Gamecock." Though Sumter would go on to a long political career, it was as a defiant partisan that he first earned the respect of his fellow backcountry settlers, a command that would compete with Greene for status and stature in the Revolutionary War's "Southern Campaign."

Despite these challenges, Greene was undaunted. Born to a devout Quaker family, and influenced by the faith's tenets, Greene instinctively understood the war's Southern theater involved complex political, personal, and socioeconomic challenges, not just military ones. Though never a master of the battlefield, Greene's mindful leadership style established his historic legacy.

The Quaker and the Gameccock tells the story of these two wildly divergent leaders against the backdrop of the American Revolution's last gasp, the effort to extricate a British occupation force from the wild and lawless South Carolina frontier. For Greene, the campaign meant a last chance to prove his capabilities as a general, not just a talented administrator. For Sumter, it was a quest of personal revenge that showcased his innate understanding of the backcountry character. Both men needed the other to defeat the British, yet their forceful personalities, divergent leadership styles, and opposing objectives would clash again and again, a fascinating story of our nation's bloody birth that still influences our political culture.

Battle of Cowpens: Primary & Contemporary Accounts

The Battle of Cowpens is considered to be one of the most important American victories of the American Revolution. On January 17, 1781, Continental General Daniel Morgan led his ragtag army of Continental regulars and local militia into battle on a South Carolina cow pasture against a superior force of British Army regulars commanded by Banastre Tarleton. Thanks to Morgan’s innate understanding of American frontier psychology, and a unique battlefield formation, Morgan defeated Tarleton in a victory many historians credit as leading indirectly to the British surrender at Yorktown. Battle of Cowpens: Primary & Contemporary Accounts collects correspondence and memoirs of the soldiers who participated in the battle. Included here are first-person accounts from both Daniel Morgan and Banastre Tarleton, along with Roderick Mackenzie, William Seymour, and other soldiers who participated in the battle from both the British and American side. Also included are battle narratives written in the years directly following the American Revolution, along with correspondence from other principal actors of the “Southern Campaign,” including Nathanael Greene, Charles Cornwallis, and George Washington. With an introduction by the editor, Battle of Cowpens: Primary & Contemporary Accounts takes the reader onto the fields of this historic American victory with the soldiers who fought there and those who knew them. 

On Jordan's Stormy Banks: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Georgia

During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers’ Project engaged jobless writers and researchers to interview former slaves about their experiences in bondage. Most of the interviewees were by then in their eighties and nineties, and their memories were soon to be lost to history. The effort was a huge success, eventually encompassing more than two thousand interviews and ten thousand pages of material across seventeen states. This collection presents the personal narratives of twenty-eight former Georgia slaves. As editor Andrew Waters notes, the “two ends of the human perspective―terror and joy” are often evident within the same interviews, as the ex-slaves tell of the abuses they endured while they simultaneously yearn for younger, simpler days. The result is a complex mix of emotions spoken out of a dark past that must not be forgotten.

 
 
 
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