Debtor Relief for Rich and Poor
THE MARCH of British armies and the forays of Loyalist raiding parties evoked cries of agony from Chesapeake planters in the last years of the war, but the damage was less than it seemed. Lord Cornwallis's year-long march from Camden northward into Virginia, and Banstre Tarlton's spectacular raids into the hinterland, flushing the frightened Virginia legislature even in remote Charlottesville, crushed American morale, but neither army cut a Sherman-style swath of destruction. The worst damage was confined to a relatively small area -- Wilmington in North Carolina, the Norfolk-Portsmouth area in Virginia. Back-country farmers suffered from the civil war in North Carolina, and Benedict Arnold's raiding parties burned coastal plantations in Maryland and Virginia, but elsewhere people never saw enemy soldiers or heard an angry shot.
Economic dislocation caused more widespread hardship. The British naval blockade was thin and sporadic, but effective because of the peculiar geography of the region. British occupation of