Washington and Cornwallis: The Battle for America, 1775-1783

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9781493029068: Washington and Cornwallis: The Battle for America, 1775-1783

Washington and Cornwallis is a gripping narrative of the defeats and narrow victories that won the States' independence from the English crown. Patterson chronicles the battles waged between General George Washington and Lieutenant General Charles Lord Cornwallis, and examines their methods of command and their controversial military decisions, and ultimately brings into focus the personalities of these two pivotal Revolutionary War generals.

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About the Author:

Benton Rain Patterson has written for the New York Times and the Saturday Evening Post. He is the author of Harold and William and is professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he lives.

Review:

...a gripping tail...Patterson worked diligently to present his subjects as more than just hero or villain. (Marla E. Nobles Gainsville Sun)

In this engaging military history of the American Revolution, journalist Patterson (Harold and William) covers all the major campaigns and battles of the conflict, from the American siege of Boston in 1775 to the climactic surrender of Yorktown in 1781. The personal rivalry implied in the title is somewhat mythical, since Washington and Cornwallis rarely faced each other, but the contrast in character between the two generals is instructive. His army perpetually outnumbered and outclassed by the Redcoats, Washington struggled with shortages of money, weapons, food and men (who simply went home when their brief enlistments expired) while fending off plots by enemies in the Continental Congress and soothing his touchy French allies. Yet he managed to win enough victories—and put enough positive spin on his defeats—to keep a credible force in the field and Patriot spirits buoyed until French aid and British war-weariness tipped the scales. By contrast, Cornwallis and the British largely squandered their advantages with aimless strategy, sluggish campaigning and internal dissension. Patterson goes easy on the psychobiography. He gives a straightforward account of his protagonists’ performances as commanders, while offering vivid thumbnails of secondary characters like Benedict Arnold and Lafayette, the whole embedded in a detailed but well-paced and often rousing campaign-and-battle narrative. The result is both vigorous history and an illuminating study of the tenacity that made Washington so indispensable to the revolution.”

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