Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boston 1775: Saratoga Not the Turning Point?

Boston 1775: Saratoga Not the Turning Point?

Reflecting upon John Ferling's article in the Smithsonian Magazine, J. L. Bell ponders whether Saratoga was a turning point of the American Revolution, noting that American needed another "turning point" after the British conquest of South Carolina.

Ferling rightly points to four American victories as major turning points in the Revolutionary War. Some British victories, however, provided turning points--in American favor. As Marty D. Matthews pointed out in Forgotten Founder: The Life and Times of Charles Pinckney, the British conquest of South Carolina introduced a British soldiery that plundered homes and farmsteads. Many South Carolinians were apathetic about the Revolution, until the British Army conquered their state.

Ferling himself describes the effect, without mentioning the cause: "In mid-1780, organized partisan bands, composed largely of guerrilla fighters, struck from within South Carolina’s swamps and tangled forests to ambush redcoat supply trains and patrols. By summer’s end, the British high command acknowledged that South Carolina, a colony they had recently declared pacified, was 'in an absolute state of rebellion.'"

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