Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meeting Notes: November 17, 2010

"Battle of Guilford Court House," Josh Howard

Josh Howard, the presenter, was introduced by Bruce Venter and his topic was "The Battle of Guilford Courthouse" which was based on his book that he co-authored with Dr. Larry Babits, entitled Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

The Battle took place in March of 1781 and of course Nathaniel Greene, who was 38 at the time, was pitted against Cornwallis who was 43 at the time. This was quite a battle and even though the British held the field at the end of the day, in many ways quite a blow was struck against the British. The book, which was based primarily upon pension records that Howard and Babits had gone through (they had poured through approximately 12,000 of those records) contains Howard and Babits' theory that frankly Greene had already chosen the plain at Guilford for this epic battle because of the three ridgelines. Greene knew that Cornwallis liked flank attacks and thus these ridgelines on the sides of the plain greatly hampered Cornwallis in what he wanted to do.

The talk was quite informative and contained an excellent PowerPoint presentation along with photos and diagrams. Mr. Howard pointed out that Greene died in 1786 at the age of 43 and even though he was virtually penniless at the end of the war, he had been given two plantations. He died on one of them but obviously died before the Constitution was adopted. Had he lived, according to Mr. Howard, he would have been elected Vice President at the very least. Obviously this presentation was much more about Nathaniel Greene and his ability to be a good general than about the Battle of Guilford Courthouse which, by the way, is a battle that has not been given its due in the history of the American Revolution.

This was a stellar presentation and there was quite a lengthy and helpful question and answer session at the end.