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Bill Thayer

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North Carolina in the American Revolution
Hugh F. Rankin

The Work and the Author

North Carolina in the American Revolution was a publication of the Historical Publications Section, Division of Historical Resources, Office of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources: in its 23rd printing, it has long been one of the most popular items in its catalog. Once this current printing is exhausted, though, the State plans on issuing an altogether new title on the subject to replace it, taking into account many new developments, among which the firm identification in 2010 of Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge found off Beaufort fifteen years earlier. The new book, expected to be published by the State in the summer of 2015, will join the 300‑some other titles available at the NC Historical Publications Shop. A select group of publications is also available in Kindle format.

The author, Hugh F. Rankin (1913‑1989) was a noted historian of colonial America and the American Revolution and a history professor at Tulane University from 1957 to 1983. He was the author or co-author of well over a dozen books on historical subjects, and many journal articles. A man of diverse interests and experience, he came late to his career as a historian, crediting it to injuries he received as construction supervisor in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. As a college student he had been a football player — and as a much older man, he would eventually chair the athletics department at Tulane for many years, accompanying the football team on its trips; he is fondly remembered by several sports figures.

The work is inscribed:

For My Father and Mother
Who made it possible for me to grow up
in North Carolina

Table of Contents

War Comes to North Carolina


The Battle at Moore's Creek Bridge


A New State and New Problems


Disaster in the South


The "Bull Dog" on the Mountain


The Battle of Guilford Court House


War in the Coastal Plains




List of Illustrations

Elijah Clarke


Nathanael Greene


Robert Howe


Lord Cornwallis


Sir Henry Clinton


Map of Revolution in North and South Carolina


William Hooper


Joseph Hewes


George III of England


Francis Marion


Abner Nash


Joseph McDowell


Isaac Shelby


William Richardson Davie


Horatio Gates


Battle of King's Mountain


Daniel Morgan


Henry Lee


Banastre Tarleton


Otho H. Williams


Cornwallis's Headquarters in Wilmington


Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown


I haven't reproduced the map on p17 because I'm not sure of its copyright status. Something much better, however, is available online: this splendid collection of 65 maps of North Carolina in the Revolution, organized by year or by county.

Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

I transcribed my own hard copy, Sixth Printing, 1996. The edition was first published in 1959, and is now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1987 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

The 1996 reprint has a short but interesting Foreword on Hugh Rankin's career and publications, written in 1996 and therefore not reproduced here. That reprint was once available at the NC Historical Publications Shop, but is no longer listed, maybe because the print run was exhausted.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

Some of the illustrations not reproduced, and a few of the ones I moved, take up an entire page of the book; in order to avoid the appearance of a page having been skipped in the transcription, the place of those not reproduced is marked by a small bracketed page number in the left margin.[p17]

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the authors' own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed book was fairly well proofread. I've marked the inevitable typographical errors, when important (or unavoidable because inside a link), with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

[image ALT: A flag-like design in which the field is divided into three portions equal in area: on the viewer's left, a broad vertical field one-third the width of the whole, and on the right the remainder is divided into horizontal halves: centered on these latter halves, ring of thirteen five-pointed stars. The design, based on the flag of North Carolina, serves as the icon used on this site for my transcription of the book 'North Carolina in the American Revolution'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a design closely based on the flag of North Carolina, on which I superimposed the thirteen stars of the independent States. It is intended to match the icon used for Dr. Rankin's other work onsite.

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Page updated: 7 Nov 20