Parker’s Guide to the Revolutionary War in South Carolina; Battles, Skirmishes and Murders (2nd edition)
By John C. Parker, Jr. Infinity Publishing, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013. Paper. $39.95 ISBN 978-0-9841058-1-6; 530 pages, 8.5 x11.
Historian John C. Parker, Jr. has created an incredible resource for anyone caring to trace the Revolutionary War in South Carolina from the armchair or in the field. This book has no peer. It is a tool unlike any other.
Over 500 South Carolina battles, skirmishes, ambushes, murders, assaults and other documented acts of war are covered in this 530 page book. Each incident, or action as they are called, is grouped in the 21st century county where it took place. Very specific directions are provided to enable the reader to go in to the field and stand on the very ground where the action took place. GPS coordinates are given. In addition, Parker gives the location a “confidence rating” of 0-5 based on his judgment as to the accuracy of the indicated position. A description of the action along with a detailed map of the area and often photographs completes the entry.
There are over 500 detailed maps. For those who want to know where the information was obtained endnotes are provided….535 of them. There is a complete index as well as a chronological order of actions with the page number and county where the information can be found.
This is not a guide to where historical markers (often miles from the places they describe) or major battlefields are located. While those are included, this is a superb guide that takes the reader to the sites of the lesser known actions which are often virtually unknown and unmarked.
If one were to seek only well-known sites such as Cowpens or Fort Sullivan this guide would not be necessary. Its real value comes into play when learning about the less well-known locations. Take for example Fort Lyttleton. Parker’s Guide provides a map and gives specific driving directions which includes: “Watch the houses on your right closely. There will be a pink house, then a one story brick house. Fort Lyttleton is under the pink house with part of a tabby wall extending, above ground, to the back of the driveway of the one story brick house. The GPS location…was taken on the road in front of the pink house. These are private residences. Do not trespass.” Parker’s Guide also includes a photograph of the exposed tabby wall of Fort Lyttleton.
Don’t feel ignorant if Fort Lyttleton is not immediately known to you. Providing obscure information is an area where Parker’s Guide shines. In this case it advises, among other things, that Fort Lyttleton was built during the French & Indian War to guard Beaufort. Americans seized the fort in 1775 but then abandoned it February 2, 1779 when a British force approached. It was later reoccupied and then burned to prevent the British from taking it again.
There are hundreds of entries of such little known places – in fact, the book covers virtually every documented locale in South Carolina. Parker’s Guide will take you back into history to the actual turf where the struggle over Independence was contested. I am eager for Spring to take to the road in seek of history.