Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse

By Lawrence E. Babits; Joshua B. Howard | Go to book overview

A NOTE ON SOURCES

For a southern campaign battle, Guilford Courthouse is fairly well documented, even if the sources are scattered, often confusing, and in conflict with each other. For battle overviews, there are the reports of Nathanael Greene and Charles Cornwallis, plus the books written by Henry Lee, Charles Stedman, and Banastre Tarleton. For more specific battle episodes, there is the book written by Roger Lamb, the memoir by William Seymour, and the diary of Samuel Houston. There are also letters by Otho Holland Williams, St. George Tucker, Johann Christian Du Buy, William Campbell, and others that describe particular episodes. Taken as a group, this body of participant accounts creates a skeleton that can be fleshed out by the pension documents.

After the war, Congress allowed pensions in special cases; then in 1818, if the veteran was impoverished; and finally, in 1832, if he was still alive and could prove his service. The applications were sworn testimony, often stating that the recollections were to the best of the applicant's memory. Of the more than one thousand applications used in this study, only one was known to have been challenged by another person, although many were rejected for some administrative reason.

The pension applications, when looked at as a group, form patterns around commanders, units, and dates. These patterns further flesh out the battle and, when joined

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