Comments on William R. Davie, The Revolutionary War Sketches of William R. Davie, Blackwell Robinson, editor
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Comments on William R. Davie, The Revolutionary War Sketches
of William R. Davie
, Blackwell Robinson, editor

NOTE: These comments are discussion of this source by individual members of the history committee and do not represent consensus of the committee, nor necessarily the final conclusions of the member making the comments.

William Thomas Sherman

Davie makes many interesting comments about Camden and its aftermath, and about other engagements and the war in the south in general:
  • He writes, "You will observe in a latter from Govr Nash to the North Carolina Delegates dated 23d of Aug. 80. He says that 'General [Richard] Caswell made a stand at Charlotte and called in upwards of a thousand fresh men that he added these to Sumpters party of about seven hundred and gave him command of the whole while he (Caswell) came on to the Assembly.' This you know is a damnable lie, Caswell did not stay to collect one man and followed Genl Gates before Gist, Smallwood and the other officers abandoned the Town ... Genl Gates in his letter of the 30th repeats this falsehood." DRS p. 20
  • It was Davie and his men, by foraging and making raids on the loyalists in SC, who kept Gates' army supplied when they were in Charlotte, otherwise the area was too depleted to have supported them. His success in this was one reason Greene wanted him as commissary apparently.
  • In another section of the work, he blames Otho Williams, all the more so as Williams commanded a corps of "observation," for having been caught napping at Wetzell's Mill, and also for contributing to the poor performance of the 2nd MD at Guilford, that is by giving them a wrong order at a crucial moment (much like Gunby at Hobkirk.) Davie states that the whole battle (on the American side) was fought by Stevens' militia and the 1st Maryland Regt.
  • In his own action at Wahab's plantation, Davie candidly admits the loyalist were cut down when surrounded, his honesty here being a refreshing contrast to what one would have expected.
  • The Catawba Indians served with Davie in July 1780, and their leader was General Newriver. They also incidentally (I found from a separate book) served with Lee's light corps in a phase of the Guilford campaign. Otho Williams mentions them in his Narrative as well.
  • His description of the defense of Charlotte is very interesting, and shows how under proper leadership the militia (in this case those from N.C.) with smaller numbers could fight off regulars with greater numbers. Davie was fighter who really knew what he was doing, and an active partisan months before Sumter and Marion.
  • Davie said that in an action the militia as a rule, would only listen to their own commanding officers.
This is a must have book, the footnotes themselves are great source for obscure and valuable information. But I was only able to find one copy available on various book searches on the internet, having fortunately nabbed it just in the nick of time. It is a paper back, and not a large book, and I don't see why it isn't reprinted -- having last come out in 1976.

John Maass, fusiliercolumbus.rr :

"in Rutherfords Brigade there was scarce a cartridge made up..."
Very interesting stuff, goes a long way toward explaining why they ran.

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