Roger Smith


The first five years of the American Revolution are traditionally viewed as a New England-based conflict, fought principally by a continuously-depleted Continental Army and Yankee Minute Men; only after the siege of Charleston in 1780 did the focus of the fighting shift south.1 Historical documents pertaining to Florida, however, reveal a far more complex story that exposes the fallacy that tens of thousands of able-bodied fighting men from the southern colonies remained inactive while George Washington's Continental Army was out-manned, out-gunned, and battered to pieces during the first five years of the war. The absence of southern regiments and militia in northern campaigns-campaigns desperately in want of more men and supplies- is an indicator that southern troops were needed in the South. To believe that the southern colonies were virtually ignored by the British until the siege of Charleston would be to suggest that the only reason General Sir Henry Clinton, commander of the failed British "Southern Expedition," sailed into Charleston Harbor with an assault fleet in 1776 was because he was lost.