The Art of Housewifery

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

Sheila Ingle author photoRelevant History welcomes YA author Sheila Ingle, a retired educator and teacher of writing for 37 years, and winner of the DAR Historic Preservation Award. Sheila’s interest and love for history has become a part of her new writing career. She has published articles in Sandlapper and the Greenville Magazine on the Citadel Class of ‘44 and the Frank Lloyd Wright home in Greenville, S. C. Her two biographies for young readers are based on Revolutionary War heroines of South Carolina; both Kate Barry and Martha Bratton helped the militia defeat British and Tory troops in the Upcountry in two different battles. Courageous Kate and Fearless Martha also refused to reveal information about their husbands’ whereabouts to the enemy; each faced the threats with bravery and determination. Sheila’s books are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Hub City Press. For more information, check her web site and blog.

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Courageous Kate book coverIn my book, Courageous Kate, A Daughter of the American Revolution, there is a chapter called “The Art of Housewifery.” Not all of the chores that were part of these times are described, but a good many are. In my second book, Fearless Martha, a Daughter of the American Revolution, there are more descriptions of the ways eighteenth-century women ran their homes. Mothers taught their daughters at an early age how to keep a household running smoothly. The chores were endless, and many hands were needed to make light work.

The Revolutionary War women that lived on the small farms were busy from before daylight to after dark. Maybe that is where the saying “a woman’s work is never done” originated. The farmer’s wife saw to the dairy, the chickens, the vegetable and herb gardens, and cleaned house. She cured and preserved meats, made soap and candles, dried vegetables, spun thread to make cloth for clothes from her own flax, prepared meals, and doctored her family.

As I was learning about this myriad of daily tasks, I visited Middleton Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina. A large millstone was there to entertain visitors. The pole in the middle of the two stones was stout, and the stones were at least a yard wide. Turning the pole crushed the corn kernels, and this was no easy task. My whole body was involved in turning the pole; I quickly remembered the motions of the dance, the Twist, from years ago. I have to admit my practice at this didn’t last long, and my husband was kind enough not to laugh.

My grandparents owned a dairy farm in Kentucky, and I was always fascinated with the milking process, though I didn’t have a lot of personal luck. I admit I was leery of the cows after getting swatted by several of their tails at different times. There was no choice during the eighteenth century for this task, because milk was used for drinking, making butter, and cooking. Also, the cows had to be milked every day because they produced up to five gallons of milk daily. Churning is an easy, but tiring process. It sometimes took almost an hour of plunging that dasher up and down in the churn to turn that creamy milk into butter. (My husband and I have butter molds from both sides of our families that we treasure.)

When I taught kindergarten, we made candles at Christmas. It seemed an endless task for my eighteen students to walk around the table dipping their string into the hot wax. I went to Michael’s to buy the wax, but that was not available two hundred years ago. In the colonial days, the hard fat of cows or sheep was melted for the wax or perhaps beeswax was used. Bayberries were often added to give off a pleasant scent when burning, but almost a bushel of berries was needed to make just a few candles. Believe it or not, many women could make as many as 200 candles in one day. I did read that mice liked to eat candles, so the housewives had to store them carefully.

I enjoy using my crock pot to make stews or soups. The smells after several hours of cooking are an encouragement that supper is in process. In those earlier times, a large, iron pot filled with meat and vegetables would also cook all day in the fireplace. The chickens would have come from the yard, or the deer meat from a hunting expedition. The vegetables were from the kitchen garden and any herbs from the herb garden. The wife took care of scalding and plucking the feathers of the chicken. She would have prepared the ground, planted the seeds, weeded and watered the garden, and then picked her vegetables and herbs. Sometimes the family would eat on this stew for several days, with daily additions. Everything took a lot of time. Nothing was wasted. This old rhyme describes how a stew might keep on cooking. “Pease porridge hot. Pease porridge cold. Pease porridge in the pot nine days old. Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Some like it in the pot nine days old.”

John and I met Revolutionary War reenactors at Cowpens National Battlefield the other weekend, and I learned about another time-consuming task called cording. I was not familiar with this, but learned quickly that with the help of a lucet that one cord could be put together to make a stronger, square cord. These cords were used for women’s stays, drawstring bags, button loops, and anything else that needed a tie-together. A sewing basket would have cords in various stages of completion. (There are several internet sites available to find more information about this task, as well this YouTube video to help you learn this craft.) From the little bit of experience I have had with holding the yarn and the lucet, expertise making this necessity would take practice.

Speaking of the reenactors, they have learned to share this time period with us with much proficiency. They are always willing to share their knowledge and know-how of these times and the tasks that both men and women needed for survival. It is a worthwhile drive to visit any of their many campsites at Revolutionary War events, and I encourage you to do so. From the food they cook to the tents they set up, they will help open your eyes to an ordinary day in the lives of our early American families.

These are a few comparisons of housewifery between the eighteenth century and the twenty-first century; there are many others. With the well-being of their families hanging in the balance, these strong and courageous women did their jobs of taking care of both hearth and home. They left us a legacy of the importance of seeing to our households, and it is one to remember and follow their models.

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A big thanks to Sheila Ingle. She’ll give away a print copy of Courageous Kate to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on this post today or tomorrow. I’ll choose one winner from among those who comment by Thursday 7 July at 6 p.m. ET, then post the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. Delivery is available within the U.S. only.

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A Reluctant Patriot

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

Relevant History welcomes back author J. R.Lindermuth, a retired newspaper editor. Lindermuth was born and raised in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. He’s the author of nine novels, and his stories and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines, both print and on line. He writes a weekly historical column for two area newspapers and is librarian of his county historical society, where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. For more information, check his web site and blog, as well as his Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Like most wars, the American Revolution was a divisive event. There were those who supported the rebellion and those who did not. There were also a great number who were neutral or who adopted a wait-and-see attitude about the outcome.

The Accidental Spy book coverDaniel McCracken, protagonist of my novel, The Accidental Spy, is one of those who desire no part in the war. A young rogue wandering about Pennsylvania and living by his wits, he’s wounded in a run-in with the law. He flees to Philadelphia where he’s rescued and nursed back to health by the lovely ward of Benedict Arnold’s procurement officer.

Dan finds himself attracted to his nurse. But when her husband returns from the front, he flees again and falls in with a band of British spies. Among their activities is the distribution of counterfeit money.

War is expensive. And it was no less a financial burden in the past.

It didn’t take long for both the British and the rebels to learn that in the American Revolution.

Cash-strapped, the fledgling American colonists who were only decades moved from barter for trade found it convenient to issue script—despite having little hard currency (gold or silver) to back it up. As the war consumed increasing amounts of paper money, its value quickly depreciated.

Counterfeiting was a British strategy developed to take advantage of the American plight, and it plays an important part in my novel. Recruiting Tories loyal to the crown and allowing them to profit at the task was a common tactic the British used to get their false script into circulation.

The money my characters distribute comes from several suppliers including James Smither, an actual Philadelphia engraver who before the war had made plates for Pennsylvania currency. Smither went to New York with the British and was subsequently charged with treason for his contributions to their scheme.

Another ploy mentioned in my story was to include counterfeit money with clothing and other supplies delivered to prisoners of war under flag of truce.

Counterfeiting was not something new to the colonies. The advent of script to replace barter and coins, which were always in short supply, had early prompted counterfeiting in the New World. Peter Long of Philadelphia and his cousin Robert Jenkins were pioneers in the trade in 1739 when they began importing plates and false bills from Europe. They were not the last to see the potential for profit.

The British high command soon recognized a strategic advantage in following the example of the counterfeiters. As early as 1776, they began counterfeiting the Colonial paper with the aim of undermining confidence in the money and the credit of the enemy. New York City became a primary center for this “official” counterfeiting, and the British were so brazen about it they actually advertised in newspapers a willingness to supply anyone going into other colonies supply of the spurious notes for the price of the paper per ream.

Benjamin Franklin commented in an essay on the effectiveness of the British strategy, noting that because of the quantity and the difficulty in telling the real from the false “…the depreciation was a loss to all and the ruin of many.”

By the 1780s it took an estimated 600 Continental dollars to buy supplies worth the equivalent of one Spanish dollar, the silver coin on which the colonies had relied for decades.

Unscrupulous counterfeiters soon pounced on this increased opportunity to ply their trade.

When money is involved, corruption is sure to follow.

What the British saw as strategy and outlaws as opportunity soon attracted emulation by ordinary citizens as well as soldiers of all ranks on both sides. One wag at trial on Long Island said he felt if it was all right for the British to do it he might as well, too. Records show that both officers and enlisted men on both sides eagerly joined in the fraud.

Moving through my story are a number of historic figures, including Joseph Stansbury, a Philadelphia merchant who became the British spymaster in the city and acted as liaison between Benedict Arnold and John Andre; Ann Bates, another Tory spy, and Samuel Wallis, a wealthy Quaker who worked both sides and escaped prosecution. Another historic character is Captain Andrew Lee, who actually did go undercover to investigate the escape of British officers from the American prison at Lebanon. I’ve taken advantage of that incident as the springboard by which my protagonist becomes a hero.

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A big thanks to J. R. Lindermuth. He’ll give away a print copy of The Accidental Spy to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on this post today or tomorrow. I’ll choose one winner from among those who comment by Wednesday 6 July at 6 p.m. ET, then publish the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. Delivery is available within the U.S. only.

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The Patriotic Brew

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

Joel Lane Museum HouseHappy Fourth of July! This afternoon for a few hours, my sons and I will be at the Joel Lane Museum House in historical clothing, talking with visitors about patriot Joel Lane and the Revolutionary War in North Carolina. If you’re in the Raleigh area, stop by and say hello. Musket drills and firings, games for the children, tours of the house, and plenty of cool lemonade.

Tin Roof Teas logoYou can hardly talk about the Revolutionary War without bringing up the topic of tea, so Relevant History welcomes Tin Roof Teas’ general manager Ryan Hinson. Tin Roof Teas grew out of the Hinson family’s passion for tea and is a haven for tea lovers. Explore the world through the selection at Tin Roof Teas. For more information, check the company web site.

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Lapsang souchong is a black tea from the Fujian province in China. Historically considered a “man’s tea,” as well as a true Scotch lover’s best friend, Lapsang souchong (or lapsang for short) is considered to be one of the strongest varieties of tea. Lapsang souchong tealeaves are dark with a golden tip. The tea has an amber-red color when brewed, and a bold, assertive and smoky flavor. Only the Crocodile souchong and the Tarry souchong outweigh the original souchong in depth and smokiness.

Lapsang Souchong tea was probably one of the teas thrown in the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. It was known also as Bohea during that time period. According to old colonial ship manifests that can still be found to this day, about one-third of the tea exported from China in the eighteenth century was green tea, with green Hyson “the choicest of all.” But the bulk of the tea that Europeans, and thus European-Americans, consumed was black tea from the Bohea Mountains.

Boston Tea PartyOn the night of 16 December 1773, the three tea ships in Boston Harbor contained 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas). Green tea accounted for about 22% of the shipment’s total volume, and 30% of the value.

So, for this Fourth of July if you want to really show your patriotism, brew yourself a nice pot of Lapsang and enjoy the brew that helped to truly launch the fight for independence.

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A big thanks to Tin Roof Teas and Ryan Hinson. Ryan will give away a chest supply of Lapsang souchong tea to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on this post today or tomorrow. No Indian costume required. I’ll choose one winner from among those who comment by Tuesday 5 July at 6 p.m. ET, then publish the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. Delivery is available within the U.S. only.

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Did you like what you read? Learn about downloads, discounts, and special offers from Relevant History authors and Suzanne Adair. Subscribe to Suzanne’s free newsletter.

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Southern Hospitality in 1780!

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

Chris Swager Author photoRelevant History welcomes YA author Christine Swager. She started writing about the Revolutionary War in the South when her graduate students at the University of South Carolina (in-service teachers) complained that there was little literature for students which would help them understand what it was like to live and fight in that war. Chris writes for teachers and young adults and, as a storyteller, is unapologetically partial to Patriot militia. She had lectured in Illinois and Michigan as well as venues in the South and is the recipient of the Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution award for Youth Education Lifetime Achievement. For more information, check her Facebook page.

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The British did not find the South Carolina summer of 1780 very comfortable. Charleston had fallen to the British in May, and British posts had been established throughout the state for billeting British troops (mostly Provincials), and recruiting Loyalist or Tory militia. On the surface, it appeared that South Carolina was effectively occupied. The Patriot militia would change that. Although there was militia in the field throughout the state, this account concerns the activities in the northwest corner of South Carolina, in the vicinity of present day Spartanburg.

In July, Colonel Charles McDowell of North Carolina called militia from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to muster at a camp at Earle’s Ford on the Pacolet River. Among the militia who responded were Col. Isaac Shelby of Washington District of Western North Carolina (now East Tennessee), with 200 men of Overmountain militia, and Col. Elijah Clarke with his Wilkes County militia from Georgia. These men had a long history of fighting Indians, and Clarke’s men had been fighting the British since the occupation of Georgia in 1778.

The British had recently been pushed out of Gowen’s Old Fort and Fort Prince in the area, leaving only one fortification for their protection, Fort Anderson, also known as Fort Thicketty. Shelby and Clarke moved against Fort Thicketty, and the fort’s commander surrendered without firing a shot on 30 July. The Patriot militia captured 200 weapons, powder, shot and supplies.

Moving south toward the British outpost of Ninety-Six, Clarke was attacked by Provincials commanded by Capt. James Dunlap, who had been recently thwarted in an attempt to ambush part of the Spartan Regiment at Cedar Springs. Shelby, who had been camped nearby, joined the battle, which raged from close to Cedar Springs through Wofford’s Ironworks and across Lawson’s Fork.

Patrick FergusonAt first Dunlap was forced to retreat but was met by his commander, Major Patrick Ferguson, who renewed the attack. In the fighting Clarke suffered sabre wounds to the head and neck and was briefly held prisoner. Shaking off his captors, he returned to the fight. When the Patriots gained the high ground by the Pacolet River, Ferguson saw the futility of an attack and retreated. The encounter had cost the British dearly. This was the first time that Ferguson had met and been thwarted by Clarke and Shelby, and it would not be the last time.

With Shelby’s militia nearing the completion of their enlistment and wanting to strike one more blow, the opportunity came when McDowell learned of a Loyalist militia encampment at Musgrove’s Mill on the Enoree River. The British had suffered several wounded in the previous engagements, and they were being housed at Musgrove’s Mill. Shelby and Clarke prepared to move south and attack. They were joined by Colonel James Williams of the Little River militia. Williams had been in camp with Thomas Sumter, but that militia was focused on the Camden area and the British troops posted there. Williams and the men who accompanied him to McDowell’s camp (Thomas Young, Christopher Brandon, Andrew Barry), were men whose homes and families were threatened by the British posted at Ninety-Six.

The combined militia rode through the night on paths to avoid Major Ferguson’s camp, located a few miles to the east. They intended a surprise attack at daybreak. However, they were discovered as they approached the Enoree River, so the element of surprise was lost. Further, they learned that a large group of Provincials, moving to join Ferguson, had arrived in camp the night before. Now, knowing that they were outnumbered by superior numbers and troops which were professionally trained and experienced, the decision was made to fight as the horses were too exhausted from the August heat to effect a retreat.

They hastily threw up some logs to form breastworks on a wooded ridge across the river from the British encampment and lured the British into attacking. In the exchange of fire during the brief battle, almost all of the British Provincial officers and the Tory militia officers were wounded or killed. The Tory militia fled the field with the British close behind. They rushed through their camp and down the road towards their post at Ninety-Six with the Patriots in pursuit.

Clarke, Shelby and Williams were determined to follow them to Ninety-Six and attack. However, a courier arrived with news of the British victory at Camden. Now, with no Continental Army in the area, the British would be free to concentrate their campaign against the Spartanburg area. McDowell advised this militia to retreat before they were cut off from their homes. However, before they departed, these three militia colonels—Clarke of Georgia, Shelby of North Carolina, and Williams of South Carolina—determined that the way to deal with Ferguson’s campaign in the area was to mass the militia. They would not let Ferguson engage one group at a time, but would keep in touch and if one were threatened, they would all respond.

Shortly after the Patriots moved north, Major Patrick Ferguson arrived. Learning of the catastrophe, (63 dead, 90 wounded and 70 captured by the Patriots), Ferguson rode to overtake the Patriots and recover his prisoners. However, after a few miles, Ferguson saw there was no possibility of overtaking his enemy so he returned to take charge of the field. For the second time, Major Patrick Ferguson had been bested by Clarke and Shelby.

Elijah ClarkeThe last of September, Elijah Clarke was moving north out of Georgia across the mountains to join Isaac Shelby. Major Ferguson moved west to intercept Clarke but failed. Ferguson issued Shelby an ultimatum. Shelby was to lay down his arms and swear allegiance to King George, or Ferguson would hang Shelby and his men and lay waste their settlements with fire and sword.

Shelby, true to the strategy agreed upon at Musgrove’s Mill, called out the militia. The massed militia surrounded Ferguson on King’s Mountain, killing Ferguson and destroying his entire force. The militia success at King’s Mountain was what British General Clinton would refer to as “the first in a series of unfortunate events.”

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The Heroes of Kettle Creek book coverA big thanks to Chris Swager. She’ll give away a print copy of her YA book Heroes of Kettle Creek to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on this post today or tomorrow. I’ll choose one winner from among those who comment by Monday 4 July at 6 p.m. ET, then publish the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. Delivery is available within the U.S. only.

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Did you like what you read? Learn about downloads, discounts, and special offers from Relevant History authors and Suzanne Adair. Subscribe to Suzanne’s free newsletter.

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Why Not Read About the War the South Won?

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

Note: I’ll be traveling a bit today, with sporadic access to the Internet mid-day. The posting of some comments may be delayed a few hours.

Charles Price author photoRelevant History welcomes author Charles F. Price, a historical novelist living near Burnsville, NC. He has written four books set in his native Southwestern North Carolina. They are Hiwassee: A Novel of the Civil War; Freedom’s Altar; The Cock’s Spur; and Where the Water-Dogs Laughed. He has won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award; a national Independent Publishers Book Award; and two historical fiction awards from the North Carolina Society of Historians. His most recent work is Nor the Battle to the Strong: A Novel of the American Revolution in the South. For more information, check his web site.

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As a native Southerner, I was, in my long-ago youth, an enthusiastic student of the Civil War. And while my heritage made it inevitable that I would admire the heroes of the Confederacy, in that bygone day it was also still possible to honor the great figures who strove to save the Union, and I did.

Ever since Appomattox some Southerners have sought to reconfigure the meaning of our great national conflict by insisting that human slavery was not its cause and that its true purpose was to win independence from Yankee Coercion, Northern Aggression, or some other attempt by the North to impose its will on a South determined only to preserve its traditions.

But however one construes these issues, during this Sesquicentennial of what I still insist on calling the Civil War, it seems to me impossible to regard that struggle as anything but an immense tragedy, especially for the South; or to deny that, for our region, it was, and remains in the collective memory, our peculiarly negative contribution to the history of the United States—negative in the sense that it bequeathed us sectional, racial, social and political attitudes that continue to divide some of us even one hundred and fifty years later.

I can already hear some of you out there tapping outraged counter-arguments, but before you continue, allow me to assert my pride in the Confederate service of my great-great grandfather Oliver Price and my great-great-uncles Andrew, Jack and Howell Curtis. Jack and Howell gave their lives in that service and Andrew died in an insane asylum as a result of what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder. Oliver Price served through the war only to be wounded in one of its last engagements, the battle of Bentonville in eastern North Carolina.

Some of you may know that my respect for my Confederate ancestors is so great that I devoted my first four novels to their lives and the lives of their families during and after the Civil War. I hope anyone who has been offended by my preliminary remarks will read those books before arraigning me as someone hostile to the notion of Southern honor.

Of course it’s not my purpose, during this celebration of our National Independence, to stir up divisive old animosities. On the contrary, those of us contributing to Suzanne’s blog during these special days are instead celebrating the memory of the American Revolution—the only successful, enduring national revolution in world history that has continued to grow and flourish over time by re-inventing, re-interpreting and striving always to perfect the essential values laid down by its Founders.

So here is my argument: The South won the War of the American Revolution. It is that achievement which represents its finest and most positive contribution to American history. It was that belief, confirmed by long and intense study, that led me to write my most recent work of historical fiction, Nor the Battle to the Strong: A Novel of the American Revolution in the South. I hope it won’t diminish the seriousness of my theory if I confess that my wife and wise collaborator Ruth devised a promotional handout when the book debuted in 2008 poking a bit of fun at the persisting (and competing) popularity of Civil War fiction. Its title was, “Why Not Read About the War the South Won?”

If the claim sounds extreme, pause and consider the history. The Revolutionary War stalemated in the North after the French alliance and the battle of Monmouth. The British then unveiled their Southern Strategy, believing Loyalist support in the region and alliances with Native Americans would help them reclaim Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. Success in the South would then allow them either to sweep northward on a tide of victory and defeat George Washington or, under less propitious circumstances, approach the peace table and, by the principle of uti possedetis, at least hold the Southern colonies for England.

This strategy succeeded admirably at first with the fall of Savannah and then of Charleston, the conquest of South Carolina and the defeat of General Gates’ American army at Camden. But then, owing to incessant attacks by Southern partisans like Marion, Sumter, Pickens and Davie, together with the battlefield victories of the Overmountain Men at Kings Mountain and Daniel Morgan at The Cowpens, fortune began to turn against Cornwallis.

The decisive event of the Southern War was George Washington’s appointment of Major General Nathanael Greene to the command vacated by Gates. Greene, a Rhode Island-born ex-Quaker, self-taught in military affairs, proved an adroit and wily strategist. So thoroughly did he outmaneuver and exhaust the army of Cornwallis in North Carolina that—though the Earl won the engagement at Guilford Courthouse—his force was virtually incapacitated and he chose, rather than try conclusions again with Greene, to limp off to Wilmington to lick his wounds. Eventually he marched north into Virginia to meet his fate at Yorktown in October, 1781.

Americans are generally taught that the surrender of Cornwallis ended the Revolution. This is untue; Greene’s Southern army, suffering defeat after defeat at places like Ninety-Six, Hobkirk’s Hill and, debatably, Eutaw Springs, still, by stubborn perseverance and in the face of terrible want, during late 1781 and all of 1782 succeeded in winning back the Southern colonies and penning up the British in Charleston and Savannah, where they languished until their government began to seek a peace based on American independence. It is this story that I tell in my forthcoming book The Sunshine of Better Fortune.

Victory was the South’s gift to the thirteen colonies struggling to become a nation. That deserves to be remembered but instead has largely been forgotten, even by Southerners who should know better. The Civil War stands like a wall across Southern memory. If we can climb that wall and look eighty years farther into the past, we will see glory. We should honor it.

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Nor the Battle to the Strong book coverA big thanks to Charles Price. He’ll give away a print copy of Nor the Battle to the Strong to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on my blog today or tomorrow. Make sure you provide your email address. I’ll choose one winner from among those who comment on this post by Sunday 3 June at 6 p.m. ET, then publish the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. Delivery is available within the U.S. only.

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Did you like what you read? Learn about downloads, discounts, and special offers from Relevant History authors and Suzanne Adair. Subscribe to Suzanne’s free newsletter.

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The Mystique of the American War of Independence

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoWelcome to my blog. The week of 1–7 July 2011, I’m participating with more than two hundred other bloggers in the “Freedom Giveaway Hop,” accessed by clicking on the logo at the left. All blogs in this hop offer book-related giveaways, and we’re all linked, so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. But here on my blog, I’m posting a week of Relevant History essays, each one with a Revolutionary War theme. To find out how to qualify for the giveaways on my blog, read through each day’s Relevant History post below and follow the directions. Then click on the Freedom Hop logo so you can move along to another blog. Enjoy!

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In 1999, I began researching historical background for the manuscript that eventually became the award winning Paper Woman. From the start, I waded in the mist of myth. Every day, I was astounded by the discovery of more examples of propaganda labeled as fact, and men and women who’d been deified. I decided to have a look at the war for myself instead of parroting what I’d learned in history class or absorbed from popular culture.

When I did that, social, religious, and economic systems got turned on their heads. Funny how that happens.

All that mythmaking was bound to occur. We humans have a lusty appetite for good stories. The last eyewitness to the Revolutionary War died in the 1800s. That meant nobody was around to contradict the tweaks we were making to facts, the tall tales we were spinning for posterity. Like the following twaddle:

The Southern colonies were unimportant in the war, and most of the fighting occurred in the Northern colonies.

Women were delicate damsels, expected to concern themselves with bearing and raising children only, considered “improper” if they owned or operated businesses.

Every colonist was either loyal to King George or a patriot.

What you’ll find on my blog this week is not your father’s Revolutionary War. I’ve never written it that way, and I won’t be writing it that way, and my guest authors don’t write it that way. This week, they’ll help me bring you down to earth about this historical free-for-all, show you the reality.

So let’s prime the pump. What “fact” about a past civilization did you learn in history class or popular culture that you later found out was balderdash?

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I’m giving away an ebook copy of Paper Woman to someone who contributes a legitimate comment on my blog today or tomorrow. Make sure you provide your email address. I’ll choose the winner from among those who comment on this post by Saturday 2 June at 6 p.m. ET, then publish the name of the winner on my blog the week of 11 July. No eReader required. Multiple file formats are available.

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Contact Suzanne

Let’s talk!

I enjoy chatting with my readers. It helps me write faster. Here are ways to contact me:

When will my next book be released? How can you receive free downloads, discounts, and special offers?

Sign up for my free newsletter by typing your email address below. I’ll send the newsletter no more than four times per year, and I won’t share your email address. The newsletter will contain the following perks for subscribers only:

  • Book release news
  • Excerpts
  • Free downloads from Relevant History authors and me
  • Discounts
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Thank you!

About Suzanne

Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and spending time with her family.

When will Suzanne’s next book be released? How can you receive free downloads, discounts, and special offers?

Sign up for Suzanne’s free newsletter by typing your email address below. The newsletter will be sent no more than four times per year, and your email address won’t be shared. The newsletter will contain the following perks for subscribers only:

  • Book release news
  • Excerpts
  • Free downloads from Relevant History authors and me
  • Discounts
  • Special offers
  • Drawings

Enter your email address:

Thank you!

Author Lineup for the Week-Long Fourth of July Relevant History Book Giveaway

Freedom Giveaway Hop logoIn honor of Independence Day, 1 – 7 July 2011, I’m posting an entire week of Relevant History essays, each with an Independence Day theme. This blogapalooza is associated with the “Freedom Giveaway Hop.”

Here’s the author lineup:

If you like mystery and adventure, YA and adult, set during the Revolutionary War, mark your calendars now, then hop back to my blog for a chance to win books on this tour.

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Did you like what you read? Learn about downloads, discounts, and special offers from Relevant History authors and Suzanne Adair. Subscribe to Suzanne’s free newsletter.

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