A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by The General, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. The General

    The General New Member


    I've been chatting with my friend and publisher Ted Savas about his recent book A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution. Ted published the book, which has received excellent reviews.

    I've arranged for members of this group to be able to purchase the book from Ted at a 10% discount, and Ted will be more than happy to sign the books for our members. It retails for $34.95 plus shipping and handling. Our member price is $31.46 per copy, plus shipping and handling. Here's where you can get a look at the book: http://www.savasbeatie.com/RevolutionaryGuide.html.

    Here's the text of an interview given by Ted and his co-author regarding the book:

    An Interview with Theodore P. Savas and J. David Dameron

    A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution is the first comprehensive account of
    every engagement of the Revolution, a war that began with a brief skirmish at Lexington
    Green on April 19, 1775, and concluded on the battlefield at the Siege of Yorktown in
    October 1781. In between were six long years of bitter fighting on land and at sea.
    Authors Theodore P. Savas and J. David Dameron recently sat down with Sarah Stephan
    of Savas Beatie LLC to discuss their reference guide.

    Q: Thank you both for this interview. To jump right in, I’ll ask: Why write a book
    detailing the battles of the American Revolution?

    TPS: I came up with the concept of a new guidebook, for lack of a better word, that
    would provide a comprehensive synopsis of virtually every engagement that occurred
    during the American Revolution. There are a number of very good reference books about
    the battles of the American Revolution, both individually and collectively. In the latter
    category is my favorite, Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781, by W. J. Woods.
    However, his book focuses only on the major battles, and each chapter is essentially an
    essay about the battle. It was the lack of comprehensiveness and no easy to follow set
    format. This makes it is very difficult to quickly discern and recall the relevant facts
    about each engagement. That, in turn, prompted to me think of a new of presenting these

    JDD: I was immediately hooked on Ted’s idea to create a guide because I knew there was
    a huge literary void concerning most of the battles in the war. After all, many of the
    smaller engagements are just as fascinating as some of the larger battles, but they are
    rarely covered. The opportunity to present the actions that have been overlooked or
    brushed aside as insignificant events became a passion for both of us. As we explored the
    events and laid them out, it became apparent that the story of the American struggle for
    freedom was filled with overlooked and long forgotten clashes that were—and remain—
    relevant to our national heritage.

    Q: So your goal is to detail battles that have been disregarded in other works?

    JDD: Yes, that part of our goal we hope we have accomplished. The bulk of the
    engagements during the war were primarily small unit actions. These occurred not only in
    the backwoods of our young nation, but throughout this hemisphere. For example,
    significant battles were waged throughout the Caribbean Sea and the British Isles and in
    the western wilderness. How many people know that? Beyond the specialists, not many.

    Q: There were also more nations involved in these actions than many people realize . . .

    TPS: That’s true, too. American soldiers and sailors were assisted by Spanish and French
    forces that struggled not only against the British, but German troops and Canadians as
    well. Additionally, native Indians throughout North America were heavily involved in the
    unfolding revolution. As you can imagine, the result of many of these battles had a
    lasting impact on their legacy and their own unique struggle for liberty.

    Q: How did you go about researching the smaller battles?

    JDD: Well, they required a great deal of research to validate the facts surrounding them.
    The location of where many of these engagements took place was often difficult to
    pinpoint because geographic locales and names have changed over the years. Were it not
    for the tireless efforts of organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution
    (DAR) and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the battle and grave sites associated
    with many of these engagements would have been lost forever. I salute the selfless
    service of these organizations, as our American history would be incomplete without
    their work.

    Q: How did the efforts of these organizations help you?

    JDD: In many cases we were able to piece together the smaller battles because the DAR
    and SAR marked the sites and recorded experiences of the individual soldiers through
    their ancestors’ service and pension records. Documents from the Loyalist Institute and
    books written by soldiers of other nationalities also aided in our quest to define the
    battles. Hidden within these documents were facts about the fights that we recorded in
    our guidebook.

    Q: Let’s discuss how the book is laid out. Can you describe the template you used for
    each battle?

    TPS: Sure. Each battle entry lists key information, such as the commanders, time/date of
    occurrence, weather (if known), terrain, and the composition and disposition of all the
    forces involved. The battle is briefly described from the perspectives of both sides, and
    then summarized in terms of casualties involved and the result of the combat. We also
    included a section with suggested readings for additional information.

    Q: How do you think this easy-to-use format enhances the guide?

    JDD: We believe it provides a very rewarding experience for the reader. There is a clear
    focus on each battle that was heretofore unavailable in a single, comprehensive guide.
    And we also think it will make much of the war more accessible to people with only a
    passing interest. Many hundreds of thousands of people visit Revolutionary War sites
    each year. How many of these people really want to read one book about Bunker Hill or
    Saratoga that is hundreds of pages long?

    Q: No many, I imagine. . .

    TPS: That’s right, not many! Our hope is that this book will help introduce more people
    to the breadth and depth of the combat that took place during the Revolution, and yet do
    so in an entertaining and bite-sized manner.

    Q: The maps in the guide also will help readers visualize each battle . . .

    JDD: Yes, maps are key to understanding many of the battles. For example, the terrain
    associated with the Battle of Bunker Hill is very common knowledge and has been
    reproduced in many books about the war. However, have you ever seen maps of the
    Battle of Kettle Creek, Huck’s Defeat, or even the better-known King’s Mountain? By
    visually exploring the terrain associated with a battle, the reader can quickly grasp how a
    band of partisan Patriots—using the last battle as an example—could very easily isolate
    and trap their enemy by using terrain to their advantage.

    TPS: Likewise, the dominant British victories at battles such as Brandywine Creek and
    Charleston can be readily understood when the battle is presented in a visual context.
    Additionally, maps give the reader a greater sense of perspective regarding troop
    movements and tactical maneuvers that forged either victory or defeat at each
    engagement. Again, maps of the major battles have been previously published, but many
    of the maps in this book have never been widely available, and each of them is original.
    David (co-author J. David Dameron) drafted most of them, and then I jumped in and
    added, manipulated, altered here and there, so the maps were a wonderful collaborative
    process, just like the book

    Q: How did you go about writing this book? It must be daunting at first to look at all the
    information . . .

    JDD: Well, it was at first! Ted and I had to conduct a survey of all the engagements (land
    and maritime) that occurred during the war. This was a tremendous task and took many
    months of research in both primary and secondary source material. As I mentioned
    before, many of the battles were not located in the United States. Nonetheless, we had to
    include them, lest the picture remain incomplete.

    TPS: Yes, and to be fair, the lion’s share of that work was performed by David. Once he
    comprised our list of battles, we then validated them (confirmed locales, units, etc.),
    collected all the pertinent facts (weather, time, terrain, etc.), and wrote each respective
    event chronologically in the template format.

    Q: What sources were particularly useful as you started to gather information on the

    JDD: Several publications provided a good foundation for the list of battles, such as
    documents created by the U.S. National Park Service, the individual state archives, and
    the DAR and the SAR. Previous publications, such as Gardner Allen’s Naval History of
    the American Revolution (1913), Benson Lossing’s comprehensive and multi-volume
    Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution (1850), and the many books written by and about
    the participants and battles that we had devoured over the years were all helpful.

    Q: Did you also visit many of the fields?

    JDD: Yes, taken together, both of us have been to most of the actual battle sites. I very
    much enjoyed visiting rural and little-known sites such as Musgrove’s Mill in South
    Carolina, where it is a challenge to find the aging historical marker. The rewards of these
    little jaunts improved the book. By exploring local archives and libraries, we discovered
    pertinent facts. This type of research—the journey of creation and exploration—is fun!
    However, if you don’t have the time or the ability to visit battle sites, this book will
    (hopefully!) be helpful resource for you. We did the legwork for the reader and compiled
    the information into a single, comprehensive guide.

    Q: While conducting research, did you discover anything that surprised you?

    JDD: What a great question—Yes! The contributions of common men and women at the
    grass roots level forged the spirit of America and won the war. While major battles were
    important in terms of cost (manpower and materiel), conquering and/or defending terrain
    was not the sole measure of victory.

    Q: Can you provide an example?

    JDD: Sure. Every time the British secured terrain, such as the state of New York, the
    American seat of government and its little army would simply slip away from, and
    occasionally lash out at, their enemy somewhere else. Meanwhile, the smaller and
    seemingly inconsequential battles waged in the backwoods communities between Tory
    and Patriot settled the differences between them. Armed with determination, the
    Americans simply refused to surrender or buckle under when many others would have.
    The Americans could lose battle after battle (and did), and yet still score a strategic
    victory and win the war. Ultimately, the Americans, aided strongly by their French allies
    under Rochambeau, achieved their goal at Yorktown, where they outmaneuvered the
    experienced British and probably their best field commander, trapped them on the end of
    the peninsula, and besieged them until they surrendered. [Read more about this final
    engagement in our new The Guns of Independence: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781, by
    Jerome A. Greene: release date: March 15, 2005.]

    Q: Ultimately, when a reader puts down this book, what do you want them to come away

    TPS: We hope all readers will gain greater insights regarding the breadth and scope of the
    war. The fighting in the American Revolution was not just between Redcoats and Rebels,
    as the theme of the war is generally portrayed. On the contrary, the many nationalities
    involved and far-flung locales of the many battles and skirmishes they have never heard
    of will undoubtedly catch many readers by surprise. We hope they think, “I had no idea
    there were this many engagements!” and find the guide so helpful and interesting they
    repeatedly reach for the shelf and pick it up to read.

    Q: What do you think the beginning Revolutionary War student will gain from your book
    and how do you think the advanced scholar will use it?

    JDD: For the beginning reader, the book lays out the course of events in chronological
    sequence. The format provides readily discernible facts about all the battles. For the
    scholar, the book provides a logical synopsis of all the engagements, which has never
    been widely available before in this format. Hopefully, scholars will enjoy the ability to
    quickly find facts by turning a few pages, and enjoy the previously unavailable maps of
    many of the smaller fights.

    Q. Short of trekking to the actual battle sites, it sounds like this book is the best way for
    anyone to quickly learn about virtually every battle of the American Revolution.

    A. JDD: We hope so. Thank you.

    As soon as I have the specifics of how to place the order to insure that you get the discount, I will pass that information along, too. I'm also going to see whether Ted will offer the same price book for Jerome Greene's The Guns of Independence: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781. I will report back on that, too.

  2. Coy

    Coy New Member

    Well, it looks like I won't be able to take advantage of the discount because I found this book under my Christmas tree. It looks extremely promising and I can't wait to get into it.

    Kevin S. Coy
  3. The General

    The General New Member

    Sorry, Kevin. :(

  4. The General

    The General New Member

    Okay, I've heard back from Ted Savas.  First, Ted wanted me to be sure to point out that he has a co-author and that it's just not his book.

    Here's what he said for those who wish to order the book:

    Have them send an email to sales@savasbeatie.com with a paypal payment (they can put in the note how they want the book signed), or they can send a check or money order (address below), or call number belong during normal business hours. Use this as a code: RevWarBoardEW.

    Here's the address for Savas-Beatie, LLC: P.O. Box 4527, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762.  Please use this address for ordering copies of the book.

    Ted says that there are insufficient copies of the Greene book left, but that Savas-Beatie will be publishing two new Revolutionary War books in 2007, and that our members will be offered the opportunity to purchase them at a discount.

    Please join me in thanking Ted, and I hope many of you will avail yourselves of his generous offer of a discount.

  5. Basecat

    Basecat New Member


    Any idea what the topics of the 2 new books out in 2007 on the Revolution from Savas/Beatie are about?

    Just what I need, more books to read, but I will take advantage of the offer, and I wish to thank Mr. Savas for being so generous to our group.

    Hope all is well.

    Regards from the Garden State,

  6. The General

    The General New Member


    Good question. I will ask Ted and report back.

  7. The General

    The General New Member

    Here's what Ted said about the 2007 releases:

    Arthur Lefkowitz's "Benedict Arnold's Army: The 1775 American Invasion of Canada during the Revolutionary War," and John Luzader's Saratoga: A Military History of the Decisive Campaign of the American Revolution (written by a former superintendent of the park who knows every inch of ground).

    I will be interested to see how the Lefkowitz book stacks up against Desjardin's, which I literally just finished reading a couple of days ago. I likewise will be curious to compare Luzader's book on Saratoga with Ketcham's.

  8. Basecat

    Basecat New Member

    Thanks Eric.

    Have never gone to Saratoga, and is just a couple of hours north of here.  It has always been one of those I'll get to eventually places.

    Hope all is well.

    Regards from the Garden State,

  9. tonyt

    tonyt New Member

    For everyone on the board we appreciate you arranging the discount my order is on it's way . I look forward to receiving the book .
  10. Patriot

    Patriot New Member

    Got my copy today & have been doing some serious perusing. If you only get one Rev. War book this year, then make it "A Guide to the American Revolution," by Theodore Savas & J. David Dameron. It is that good!


    Mike Peters

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