Monday, April 1, 2019

Trying to Imagine War

 On our recent camping trip, we visited the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Eutaw Springs (September, 1781). 
  I don’t care to glorify war or to honor entities who cannot find a civilized way to settle conflict.  I do have a heart for the young men (and more recently women) who out of honestly held beliefs or desperate situations are the ones to lay down their lives on the front lines of battles. Wars should be remembered for them, and for lessons in peace gleaned from wars’ folly.  

  I thought i would write a few lines about what happened that autumn day at Eutaw Springs, but it’s a litany of boring dates and names of leaders who dragged their troops into death, maiming, and heartbreak.  Not really worth repeating.  As a matter of fact, both sides — the British and the Americans — even claimed to have won this, the last major engagement in the war in the Carolinas.  

British General Alexander Stewart's letter to his commander states, 

“With particular satisfaction I have the honour to inform your lordship, that on the 8th instant I was attacked by the rebel General Greene, with all the force he could collect in this province and North Carolina, and after an obstinate engagement, which lasted near two hours, I totally defeated him, and took two six pounders."

American General Nathanael Greene's letter to his commander states, 

“By far the most obstinate fight I ever saw. Victory was ours, and had it not been for one of those little incidents which frequently happen in the progress of war, we should have taken the whole British Army."

  On this quiet, beautiful river bank, miles and miles from anywhere, four thousand men from two armies met in brutal battle.  They blew each other apart from close range with muskets and canons for three hours and finished off the job with sabers and bayonets.  

  Heavy rain prevented continuation of the fighting, and having lost a third of his men, Stewart marched back to British-held Charleston. 



In the end 500 Americans and 700 British lay dead in this bloody clearing, with many more wounded.

 We stood at the foot of trees weighted down with purple wisteria, no sounds but the birds, no odor but the floral perfume, and tried to imagine the carnage that happened here.


  1. Each side had their own story even back then:)

  2. Tactics were brutal in those days - you just have to watch the battle scenes brilliantly done
    in the movie: "The Patriot" (Mel Gibson) to see the utter murderous and futile tactics.

    Of course all this historical now still results in the second amendment to "bear arms" - ha ha, is this because
    you think the Poms, Frogs or the Spaniards will come back again? I think not, who would want the mess that the USA
    is in today!!!
    The "NRA" mob live still in the days of the Revolutionary wars of Independence!

    Good report anyhow, Cynthia.

  3. We still don't get it that war is a very poor way to settle things. Shortly after a war is over they go at it again.

  4. I supposed both sides had to claim victory to justify all that horror.

  5. Still same thing is going on.. That is sad.

  6. Interesting. Wars don't always achieve a great deal.

  7. Such a sad loss of life on both sides. I can't imagine the carnage there, horrific.

  8. What a brutal battle, with both sides believing in their cause.

  9. I tried to teach history junking the boring history books and have students read well written and historically accurate novels, adding my own stories to the mix. As you wrote war is never to be glorified. Never ever....

  10. It is hard to imagine such slaughter and wastage of lives.