War in the South • Georgia and South Carolina • British captured Savannah, Georgia, December 1778 • w/ strong control, suppressed Loyalist sentiment bubbled out, British raised 20 Loyalist regiments for military service • British moved up to South Carolina, where coastal & backcountry divisions even stronger than Georgia • April 1780 British force of 8000 lay siege to Charleston, held by American Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, political appointee w/ little military experience • entire force surrendered, he eventually exchanged, but soldiers jailed or in prison hulks, many died 71
Figure 6.14 • This 1780 map of Charleston (a), which shows details of the Continental defenses, was probably drawn by British engineers in anticipation of the attack on the city. The Siege of Charleston was one of a series of defeats for the Continental forces in the South, which led the Continental Congress to place General Nathanael Greene (b), shown here in a 1783 portrait by Charles Wilson Peale, in command in late 1780. Greene led his troops to two crucial victories.
73 Major Campaigns of the South, 1778 – 1781
War in the South • Georgia and South Carolina • British Gen. Sir Henry Clinton administered from Charleston, sent Gen. Charles Cornwallis to subdue backcountry • Cornwallis effectively used two skilled cavalry leaders, Patrick Ferguson & Banastre Tarleton, heavy-handed tactics to suppress backcountry Patriots only inflamed them • Continental Congress placed Gen. Horatio Gates in command in south, but he barely more effective than Lincoln • Gates, defeated at Camden August 1780, retreated 160 miles, disaster 74
War in the South • Georgia and South Carolina • Congress replaced Gates w/ Gen. Nathaniel Greene • Greene exceptional, w/ competent help such as Gen. Daniel Morgan, who engineered 17 Jan 1781 victory at Battle of Cowpens • Col. Banastre Tarleton’s mixed force of cavalry & infantry beat by skillful use of double-envelopment • earlier defeat, Oct 1780, of Col. Patrick Ferguson at Battle of Kings Mountain meant Cornwallis now w/o his best subordinates • Greene realized Cornwallis’s greatest weakness was inability to get reinforcements, so kept Cornwallis in the field constantly 75
War in the South • Georgia and South Carolina • March 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse a British victory, but American’s tenacious defense & inflicting serious battle losses to British meant Cornwallis forced to get to supply point • early summer Cornwallis headed north towards Virginia, aiming for coastal town accessible to British fleet for resupply • spent summer mid-state, near Richmond & Petersburg, pushing back American forces, incl. commands under Lafayette, Von Steuben, & Anthony Wayne • September 1781 to Yorktown 76
War in the South • Yorktown • French army arrived in America early summer, coordinated w/ Washington, when news arrived of Cornwallis in Yorktown • marched & sailed south, arriving mid-September, successfully surrounding Cornwallis • classic siege of Yorktown, digging gun emplacements, trenches for advancing troops, night attacks to capture British strongpoints • by mid-October, close enough to drop artillery shells anywhere in British camp • additionally, French fleet arrived to block entrance to Chesapeake, prevented British resupply or evacuation of Cornwallis’s troops 77
Yorktown, 1781 78
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