The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

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Washingtons General
Washington and Cornwallis
The Battle for America, 1775-1783

by Benton Rain Patterson

Washington and Cornwallis begins in May 1775 with the appointment of George Washington as the commander in chief of the proposed Continental Army. However, it does not take long to discover that the title is a bit misleading. Because of Cornwallis' secondary role in the early years of the war, he is often missing. He does not appear until the third chapter and does not take a central role until Washington 'steps aside' when the war moves south. Moving past the title, the book is a unique survey of the war.

The British capture of New York is seen from Cornwallis' perspective, as well as elements of the New Jersey campaign and capture of Philadelphia. These events are usually told from commanding General Howe's perspective. The narration steps away from both Washington and Cornwallis when covering the pivotal Saratoga Campaign and later on again with the Battle of Newport, although Washington is involved in the aftermath. It does take a couple of trips back to England and the status of the politics there when Cornwallis sailed home on leave.

As already mentioned, the book is a survey of the war. The narrative moves along briskly and the book does take a different look at well-known events of the war. It's short enough that the book is worth a good read. Although, the title 'Washington Then Cornwallis' might be a better description since Washington is the central figure for the first two-thirds of the book before Cornwallis becomes the central figure for the remainder of the book.

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