The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens
The American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry
Routledge – 2013 – 200 pages
The American South is so identified with the Civil War that people often forget that the key battles from the final years of the American Revolution were fought in Southern states. The Southern backcountry was the center of the fight for independence, but backcountry devotion to the Patriot cause was slow in coming. Decades of animosity between coastal elites and backcountry settlers who did not enjoy accurate representation in the assemblies meant a complex political and social milieu throughout this turbulent time.
The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens brings to light the world of the Southern backcountry that engendered its role in the Revolutionary War. With careful attention to political, social, and military history, Walker concentrates on the communities and events not typically covered in books on the Revolutionary War. Through government documents, autobiographies, correspondence, and diaries, The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens gives students of the Revolution an important new perspective on the role of the South in the resolution of the fighting.
Kings Mountain and Cowpens exemplified the extent to which the American Revolution was a civil war that divided many communities. Melissa Walker presents a lucid narrative of these pivotal battles. Her superb selection of primary sources includes both dramatic eyewitness accounts and compelling vignettes of backcountry life.
Cynthia A. Kierner, author of A Perfect Temper: The Life and Times of Martha Jefferson Randolph
Routledge’s Critical Moments in American History series is designed to “give students a window into the historian’s craft through concise readable books…[that] bring together the best scholarship and engaging primary sources…” (p. viii). Melissa Walker’s The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens does exactly this in a user-friendly format that will attract undergraduates…Walker has written a book that demonstrates the complexity of the American Revolutionary War in the southern backcountry…[and those] who want a well-written synopsis of this
topic for use in a college classroom, should consider this book.
Michael P. Gabriel, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Chapter one: The Southern Backcountry Before the American Revolution
Chapter two: Imperial Crisis in the South
Chapter three: Revolutionary War and the Challenge of Winning Hearts and Minds
Chapter four: The South’s first civil war: the fall of Charles Town and its aftermath
Chapter five: Kings Mountain: "first link in a chain"
Chapter six: The Battle of Cowpens: Victory for "The Flying Army"
Chapter seven: Denouement
Melissa Walker is Professor of History at Converse College.