Gen. Andrew Williamson’s Self Defense

This amazing letter was first located by Will Graves, annotated and published in SCAR in May of 2005.[1]  Since we have learned so much about the geography of the Southern Campaigns and the particulars of the people in the last ten years, I thought it worthy of revisiting, updating the annotations, and slightly expanding.  This letter was written to Gen. Nathanael Greene by Gen. Andrew Williamson who surrendered himself with many of the western South Carolina backcountry militia leaders to the British after the fall of Charlestown in May 1780.  Thereafter, Williamson was courted by the British, no doubt offered money, property, and position to take an active leadership role for the British in South Carolina, and was considered by many contemporaries as colluding with the Enemy.  Some later writers have dramatically labeled him as the “Benedict Arnold of the South” though that tag is in no way deserved.[2]

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[1] Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution (SCAR), Vol. 2, No. 5 (May 2005) on-line; summary in the Papers of Gen. Nathanael Greene (PNG), XII:395

[2] Connor Runyan, “The Monument that Never Was”, Journal of the American Revolution (Sept. 2, 2015) on-line