A Loyalist perspective on social, medical, and military aspects of the American Revolution
In the midst of the American Revolution, New Jersey native and surgeon Dr. Uzal Johnson traveled to South Carolina with the American Volunteers, a Loyalist unit under the command of the British colonel Patrick Ferguson. Johnson's wartime journal recounts the movements of Ferguson's Corps and its survivors through the rebellious Carolina colonies from March 1780 to March 1781 and gives a participant's account of the American victory at Kings Mountain, an event that gave hope to the Whigs and greatly dispirited the Loyalists. In this definitive edition of Johnson's journal, Wade S. Kolb III and Robert M. Weir provide an innovative examination of the document to advance our understanding of the social, medical, and military history of the Revolution.
Beginning with the arrival of British forces at Savannah, Johnson's account continues with the march of the Loyalist American Volunteers northward to the siege and surrender of Charleston. The unit subsequently spent nearly four months in the backcountry attempting to organize a Loyalist militia and battling increasingly formidable Whig partisans. Their efforts collapsed in October 1780 at the Battle of Kings Mountain, where Colonel Ferguson was killed and most of his forces were captured. Surviving the battle, Johnson was marched with other captives toward Hillsborough, North Carolina, where he remained a prisoner of war for three months before his release and return to Charleston. While in Hillsborough, Johnson was not closely confined, and in his journal he describes treating civilian patients and socializing with prominent local residents. Additionally the compassionate surgeon demonstrated sensitivity to the plight of women caught up in the maelstrom of the Revolution. His sympathy toward civilians foreshadows his ability to pursue a successful medical practice upon returning to New Jersey after the American victory.
Kolb and Weir further enhance Captured at Kings Mountain with detailed maps of Johnson's route through Georgia and the Carolinas as well as an accessible introduction examining the complex textual connections between Johnson's journal and the somewhat similar record of Lieutenant Anthony Allaire. The extensive introduction and comprehensive explanatory notes add a wealth of historical context to the people, places, and events of Johnson's adventure and his Loyalist perspective on the Battle of Kings Mountain.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina Honors College and Duke University Law School, Wade S. Kolb III is the former executive editor of the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy. He now serves as a clerk for the Honorable Ed Carnes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Robert M. Weir is a distinguished professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of Colonial South Carolina: A History and The Last of American Freemen: Studies in the Political Culture of the Colonial and Revolutionary South. Weir has been honored for his scholarship by the American Antiquarian Society, the Southeastern Society for the Study of the Eighteenth Century, and William and Mary Quarterly.
"Kolb and Weir's Captured at Kings Mountain is a must-read for anyone interested in the American Revolution in South Carolina. It is a welcome addition to my bookshelf."—Walter Edgar, author of South Carolina: A History and Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution