Making sense of Guilford Courthouse

I’ve mentioned before how thrilled I was to learn about a new book called Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, by Lawrence Babits and Joshua Howard.  We’ve long needed a full-scale treatment of this battle, and I can’t think of anyone better suited to co-write it than Babits, whose earlier book on the Battle of Cowpens was a remarkable piece of research.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of my copy of Long, Obstinate, and Bloody, and when it finally came I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.  I absolutely devoured it, and it’s as fine a piece of military history as I expected it to be.  Guilford was a confused and messy affair, but Babits and Howard have done an outstanding job of making sense of it all.  There’s some intensive primary research collected in these pages, and it shows.

The battle’s anniversary is, of course, this weekend.  Check out the schedule of events.  Babits and Howard are speaking at Guilford Courthouse National Park tonight and signing books tomorrow; there’s also a reenactment at the adjacent Country Park and a number of other presentations at both the NP and nearby Tannenbaum Historic Park. 

My plans to attend fell through at the last minute, much to my disappointment.  I’ll have to postpone my pilgrimage until next week, so here’s your homework assignment.  If you’re within driving distance of Greensboro, head on over and then report back.  If not, then order yourself a copy of Long, Obstinate, and Bloody and enjoy.



Filed under American Revolution, Historiography, Museums and Historic Sites

4 responses to “Making sense of Guilford Courthouse

  1. I just received a review copy of this one. Thanks for your take on it. I don’t do this often, but I’m going to review this non-Civil War book at TOCWOC since it looks so good. My quick glance through the pages reafffirms what you’ve said here. The authors apparently used research which documented the locations of found bullets on the field and which helped them precisely locate various units involved in the fight. It seems sort of similar to Little Big Horn in that regard.

  2. mlynchhistory

    I’m looking forward to reading your review. Babits is an archaeologist as well as historian, so his use of material culture and terrain features is usually more extensive than what you find in more conventional historical books. In fact, he uses written accounts in much the same way that archaeologists use artifacts, determining where eyewitnesses were standing at particular times and how their location affected their impressions if the event.


  3. JHoward


    I was just turned to your blog via my friend Andrew Duppstadt. Just wanted to say thank you for your kind words via Long, Obstinate, and bloody. Babits and I are glad you enjoyed it. Hate you missed the presentation.



  4. mlynchhistory

    Thanks for writing a great book! I’m sorry I didn’t get to hear your presentation at GCH.


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