Guilford Courthouse 1781

Guilford Courthouse 1781

Lord Cornwallis's Ruinous Victory

Book - 2004
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By the Spring of 1781, the American Revolutionary War had dragged on for almost six years and the outcome still hung in the balance. When the British commander Lord Cornwallis launched his invasion of North Carolina in early 1781, his objective was to destroy General Nathaniel Greene's American army. At Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781 the two armies met. In a desperately hard-fought battle the small but professional British army succeeded in fighting its way through three separate lines of American troops - but at a dreadful cost. Cornwallis lost over a quarter of his command. When news of the this Pyrrhic victory reached Britain, a politician remarked; Another such victory would ruin the British army.

In the Spring of 1781, the American Revolutionary War had dragged on for almost six years, and neither side had gained a decisive advantage. When the British commander Lord Cornwallis launched his invasion of North Carolina in early 1781, his objective was to destroy General Nathaniel Greene's army, not to capture territory. Greene fell back before him into Virginia, and his force grew daily as militia flocked to the colours, and a revitalised American army took the offensive. At Guilford Courthouse on 15 March 1781 the two armies met. In a see-saw battle, victory seemed to be within the American grasp, but the British held off a fierce counterattack by American infantry and cavalry, forcing Greene to concede the field. It was a British victory but at a terrible cost - Cornwallis lost over a quarter of his command. When news of the 'victory' reached Britain, a politician remarked; 'Another such victory would ruin the British army'. The battle led to the recapture of the Carolinas by Greene, and set in motion a chain of events that would culminate in the surrender of Cornwallis and his army at Yorktown seven months later.

Publisher: Westport, Conn. : Praeger, c2004.
ISBN: 9780275984618
0275984613
Branch Call Number: 973.337 KONSTAM
Characteristics: 96 p. : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 26 cm.

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