American Revolutionary War: 3D Layers to Causes, Principles Used and Results

The advantage of taking on a portion of this ‘American Revolutionary War’ conflict, as I was able to do in reviewing John Oller’s book ‘Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Won the American Revolution‘, was that I could get my head around how South Carolina became ripe for revolution, how principled was the conflict and how South Carolina dealt with their freedom from empire.

The disadvantage is that nothing happens in a vacuum or in isolation, and so in reality one needs to back up to the macro (Thirteen Colony Federation view) and even to a global view to understand more holistically how all this came down. This last disadvantage I was able to partially overcome with the assistance of a book Captain1776, Malibu and myself first ran across at the Camden, SC RevWar historical site bookstore called ‘South Carolina and the American Revolution – A Battlefield History‘ by John W. Gordon.

This book helped me to understand the rather complex web of issues, real or imaginary, physical or psychological that helped evolve the love of family, love of community and even into a love of a colony/region towards violence-based actions that risked these very things (family, community and colony/region and even culture).

The writer is a former US Marine officer and professor at the Citadel in South Carolina who is now involved with national security affairs in Quantico, VA. What was refreshing in John W. Gordon’s approach was the eye towards tactics and strategies that either helped or detracted from the efforts of either the rebel-patriots-Whigs or the loyalists-Brit-Tories in the very real civil war that raged in South Carolina from approximately 1775 until 1783.

One aspect realized, was the early attempt on the part of the British to utilize the Cherokee and Creek to their advantage in the southern theater of this war the British brought to regain control of the colonies actually led to ‘blowback’, where unintended consequences would rule as a result of decisions made. This in conjunction with the assumption that Loyalists would rise to greatly assist the British efforts showed how much out of touch London, England was with the thoughts on the minds of those in the low country, midland and rolling hills leading up to the Blue Ridge felt in 1775, 1778 and 1780.

Another aspect that came to light when reading this book was the pivotal moment the French aligned with the colonies which caused this conflict to spread to English colonies around the globe as this became a very real world war that involved Spain and the Dutch as well as the French.

Primary to all of this was the effect this effort to extract the South Carolina people from British Empire control in how this region unified to a degree during the conflict, that pitted father against son and cousin against cousin. The effect was specifically where, during and and especially after the war, the upstate areas obtained more say in the government. The fact that civil government by the people themselves for three years in absence of the British royals, that was then forced into exile in North Carolina for a time after Cornwallis occupied Charlestown and much of the region and then back in late 1781 showed that South Carolinians could rule themselves!

Decades later, praise for this effort across micro-cultures inside this state would emerge from the pen of George Bancroft in 1857 in “History of the United States”:

Left mainly to her own resources, it was through the depths of wretchedness that her sons were to bring her back to her place in the republic ..  having suffered more, and dared more, and achieved more than the men of any other state.

This struggle matured a generation of men and women towards principles that will be again used eighty years later when another “empire” would be threatening South Carolina in coercive and violent ways once more.

Hats off to South Carolina’s Revolutionary War generation in their fight for their love of future generations and their way of life.


NOTE: Future posts are forthcoming towards a more in-depth review of this new book, South Carolina and the American Revolution – A Battlefield History , in our library

12DEC1780: Halfway Swamp – a Long Time since the Snow Campaign

Marion’s Militia catches the British taking new recruits towards North Carolina

What prompted Marion and his men to leave Snows Island was two fold. First, word came that a patriot force found two brothers of the Loyalist militia leader Major John Harrison at home ill with smallpox and the patriots murder them in their beds. This action upsets Marion greatly as he desires a revolution that does not stoop to the tactics used by the British Empire. Second, Marion gets Intel that Lt. Col. Samuel Tynes has escaped and so Lt. Col. Peter Horry is sent towards the High Hills of the Santee in a chase. In the mean time Marion and his men ride to Indiantown which he knows will spark Intel back to the British that the “Fox” is out and about.

The British escapee Tynes makes his way to British HQ at Camden fairly shaken along with a small group of his men and decides he has had enough of the war and resigns. This is the psychological effect that Marion’s guerilla force had on the larger British/Loyalist forces that worked in the rebel’s favor.

This month of December 1780 marked a five year anniversary of one of the first actions in South Carolina in the drive to separate from the British Empire. In December 1775, Col. Richardson and his men had been busy in upcountry regions removing Loyalist leadership so that state forces could focus on the areas of the colony that were more aligned to Tory/British leadership, the area below the fall line and the tidewater regions of South Carolina. Toward the end of this late 1775 campaign, the troops faced an intense winter storm that lasted 30 hours or more and dumped over 20 inches of snow in areas of northern South Carolina and neighboring North Carolina. Does this sound familiar? Is this part of a re-enactment?

09DEC2018 Winter Storm Snow Estimates for South Carolina, North Caroline and Virginia

For Marion and his men, it had been quite a seesaw of emotions over the course of these five years. By summer 1776 it appeared after the British were repulsed at Charlestown that they would leave the southern colonies alone. This lasted until early 1780 when the British sought to roll-up through the southern colonies gaining loyalist men as they went to join British General Clinton in the north and squash this rebellion. Based on the success of their militia in the fall of 1780 I can only imagine that these men has a spark of excitement in their minds as they seemed to actually be able to slow the British advance into North Carolina. The next month would be critical to build on past success and continue to hamper British ops.

On 11DEC1780, more Intel arrives for Marion that alerts him to the British Commandant of Charlestown’s effort to send 200 new recruits to Cornwallis who is inside South Carolina at his winter headquarters at Winnsboro west of Camden. As Marion leaves Indiantown and approaches Nelson’s Ferry his band of freedom fighters swells to 700. A combination of his success and the fact that the harvest is about done allows Marion the opportunity to change things up a bit as how he has the numerical edge.

About 20 miles above the ferry at the Santee River, at the Halfway Swamp, (which is just a mile from Richardson’s plantation where Marion had almost walked into a trap just a month before) he overtakes the Maj. Robert McLeroth, his 64th Regiment of Foot who are escorting the recruits of the 7 th Regiment to Winnsboro. The very reason for the escort was that Cornwallis did not trust these 200 fresh recruits alone out there with the fox on the loose! Marion’s mounted troops made quick work of the British pickets as McLeroth had no cavalry.

[Author’s note: I had the privilege of visiting this site with Captain1776 and Malibu last month. While the road near the swamp had been closed for a while, and we could not get exactly to the site of this battle, it seems that the current swamp has not changed much from 238 years ago as it still is a cypress filled quagmire.]

Marker for Halfway Swamp near the Santee / Lake Marion

At this point, Marion was in control of the battlefield. McLeroth sent a message under a flag of truce protesting the shooting of the pickets. Marion’s reply was that the British practice of burning houses was more egregious adding that if the British persisted in the latter that he would continue the former. McLeroth also challenged Marion to come out in the open field and fight like a man.

Marion offered a counter proposal in that each side would pick their 20 best marksmen do this combo duel to decide this battle. This tradition dates back to biblical times! It was agreed that this would happen to the south of a prominent oak tree as the men lined up 100 yards from each other. Marion appointed Maj. John Vanderhorst to lead the patriot team but it seems that Vanderhorst asked Capt. Witherspoon at what range should they choose for firing the opening round of buckshot and Witherspoon said 50 yards. Vanderhorst admitted that he was not good judging distances and asked that Witherspoon tap him on the shoulder when they should commence firing.

As the men got closer, it was the British who fled the field back to the main body of their force. Marion’s men let out a cheer. Once again, psychological edge is a major factor.

It seems by this time it was about nightfall and each force went to their evening campfires. McLeroth actually was able to out fox the fox as he setup camp and kept the campfires lit while he and his men slipped away to Singleton’s Mill 15 miles north. However, the price paid by McLeroth was having to leave supply wagons and heavy baggage that the patriots used for re-supplying themselves.

Marion, once aware of the British slipping away sent Maj. John James in pursuit but he encounters British reinforcements of 50 mounted cavalry and 80 more infantry and even something more threatening than that, the Singleton family had smallpox. Jame’s men got off one round before leaving the property and returned to Marion who decided not to engage the enemy at this time. At least he delayed this force of recruits on their way to Winnsboro. These recuits would remember this encounter (psyche) and it would play a role in the battle of Cowpens about a month later.

December 1780 still has some more action packed in it so stay tuned!


Do Elected Officials in Representative Government Really Keep Us Free/Safe?

I am pretty sure most people vote to get the right people in office so that they, their family, their community and their people can enjoy safety and freedom from generation to generation. If only we get the right person in the right position .. what can go wrong?

Well, in an enlightening well documented effort, James Corbett once again weaves transcript and audio (with video graphics that paint the picture) together to bring about some understanding of WWI. I believe that this world war (called the Great War) is a good place as any to frame the problem of democracy in the short and long term. This effort also shows to what lengths a declining empire will go to in order to remain the “main thing on the global stage” even as its power diminishes.

Part 1 of this series (located at the top of this post via YouTube) is all I have listened to at this point, but it is much better than anything I might be able to dig up on Below is a clip from the transcript that includes the key of what we can still see remnants of today, a world order that was handed-off from the British Empire to a ‘3D’ US Empire (not your mama’s empire) was achieved post-WWII and is now in a state of decline and irrelevance to more and more nations around the world. Only our military, CIA and deep state threats keep the remaining nations hostage. It is only a matter of time that this New World Order (President HW Bush spoke of this openly) unravels, destroying the elite’s generational dreams of global control:

… the machinations that led to war (WWI) are a master class in how power really operates in society. The military compacts that committed Britain—and, ultimately, the world—to war had nothing to do with elected parliaments or representative democracy. When Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Balfour resigned in 1905, deft political manipulations ensured that members of the Round Table, including Herbert Henry Asquith, Edward Grey and Richard Haldane—three men who Liberal leader Henry Campbell-Bannerman privately accused of “Milner worship”—seamlessly slid into key posts in the new Liberal government and carried on the strategy of German encirclement without missing a step.

In fact, the details of Britain’s military commitments to Russia and France, and even the negotiations themselves, were deliberately kept hidden from Members of Parliament and even members of the cabinet who were not part of the secret society. It wasn’t until November 1911, a full six years into the negotiations, that the cabinet of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith started to learn the details of these agreements, agreements that had been repeatedly and officially denied in the press and in Parliament.

This is how the cabal functioned: efficiently, quietly and, convinced of the righteousness of their cause, completely uncaring about how they achieved their ends. It is to this clique, not to the doings of any conspiracy in Sarajevo, that we can attribute the real origins of the First World War, with the nine million dead soldiers and seven million dead civilians that lay piled in its wake.

But for this cabal, 1914 was just the start of the story. In keeping with their ultimate vision of a united Anglo-American world order, the jewel in the crown of the Milner Group was to embroil the United States in the war; to unite Britain and America in their conquest of the German foe.

Yes, hatched before the end of the 19th century, this “world order”cabal was being formed behind the curtains from the world stage. The fact of the matter is, “how power really operates in society .. [what committed] the world—to war had nothing to do with elected parliaments or representative democracy..”, means that your votes really do not matter.


2018 Visit to Snow’s Island – Swamp Fox’s Lair

Dunham’s Bluff, Great Pee Dee River (Part of Snow’s Island)

There is nothing like going to the land where honorable and brave men not only withstood an empire, but were able to slow its armies down and stall them so that the empire’s people and politicians would lose motivation to continue the fight.

Late on a November day, about dusk, SF1 along with Captain1776 and Malibu, were able to walk on to Dunham’s Bluff and experience what Marion’s lair might have felt like back in 1780 when he and his men used the terrain and topography to be protected from those who sought to kill them. The river was high and slow (slow waters run deep, probably still containing waters from Hurricane Florence from weeks before), but the high ground afforded a sense of security that a castle has when surrounded by a moat.

To reach this point, we needed to ditch the rental car a good mile away and hike in through the South Carolina swamp (complete with alligators, never seen, but definitely heard) to reach one of several secure locations that Marion sought out, this one most likely including earthworks in 1780.


A few miles away to the west was the spot, called Witherspoon’s Ferry in 1780, where Marion was first introduced to Kingstree militia that had requested a Continental officer as a leader from General Gates.

Twilight at Witherspoon’s Ferry (now called Venter’s Landing)

The visit to one of Francis Marion’s areas of resistance prompted a common theme mentioned in the days that followed, all three of us from two different generations, earnestly desire to return to this land someday, and hopefully include yet another generation in the common admiration of a few men, who against all odds, defied empire and authority in the hope of a future based in liberty for all.


1866 Reflections: What Have We Done?

While I contend that there was a very major shift in “self government” after the thirteen American colonies were able to get out of the British Empire and out of fear opt for leaning toward a large centralized government by 1787, it was nothing like what happened as a result of the so-called “Civil” War.

Accurately called the War Against Southern Independence, this conflict so twisted the Yankee psyche that the northern states (with support of the Midwest and Far West states) pushed hard on shutting down state sovereignty with post war Constitutional amendments. The United States acted and operated very different than it did from 1783 to 1787 with the Articles of Confederation, and with the coup d’etat by Alexander Hamilton and others towards a British style top-down government structure the shift towards centralization in Washington DC was underway. Only 80 years later as the north gained political strength, the southern political forces saw the writing on the wall and desired an exit from the republic.

The north could not bear to let the south leave and their printing presses also influenced the Midwest and West towards fearing the future without them. Peace commissioners were rejected by Lincoln as he pursued war towards retaining the states and their ports from which to collect tariff revenue that was needed to support the general government (now called federal) as well as “internal improvements” which were primarily northern industrial subsidies.

The war raged, sections of the country were ravaged, and by December 1865 the slaves in Union Army territory were finally free (by legislation, well after Lincoln’s death). Union General U.S. Grant finally had to free his slaves four years after the war started because Lincoln only freed the slaves where he had NO control over, those in 1863 that were behind Confederate battle lines.

The southern states paid dearly for daring to do what the norther states had considered in 1796, 1800, and especially in 1814. One fourth of their men were gone or crippled, their property was wrecked both public and private, their infrastructure was shattered as this region became occupied territory not unlike what had been done by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria in this century. The war was done, but much more was lost than was won. Basically, the husband beat his wife back into the marriage.

About this time, a humble gentleman who had loved the Union but could not draw a sword against his own state, his own country, his own people and his own family began to reflect on what had just happened:

IN A LETTER TO LORD ACTON written in 1866, former Confederate General Robert E. Lee noted his concern that if the United States used its victory over the Confederate States of America to destroy the American principle of States’ Rights, then the United States would morph into a country that would become “aggressive abroad and despotic at home.”[

Kennedy, James R.. Yankee Empire: Aggressive Abroad and Despotic At Home (Kindle Locations 107-110). Shotwell Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.

The book I quoted is the just released “Yankee Empire: Aggressive Abroad and Despotic At Home” by James and Walter Kennedy.

Personally, I have been studying this war since my parents bought me Childcraft books that came bundled with World Book Encyclopedia set. As a six year old I skipped the Childcraft and immersed myself in the World Book set that were by alphabet. Having been born in Georgia, I took towards trying to understand how Georgia went from being a British colony to becoming part of the united States and was perplexed that it later left that federations for another.

Over time I used library resources in high school and in the city where I was raised to attempt to understand all sides to this conflict and found out like most wars that the seed were planted far in advance of South Carolina’s secession in December 1860.

So between my posts on

  • the American Revolution with a series on Francis Marion the guerrilla fighter that kept the British from “slam-dunking” the War for Independence,
  • posts concerning current affairs, US foreign policy, the conflict in Syria and Russia’s struggle to remain sovereign

… I will now select December as the month that I will follow the events as they unfolded in South Carolina over 150 years ago towards an independence modeled after the spirit and passion of 1776.