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The Road to Charleston

Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution
John Buchanan

BUY Cloth · 408 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813942247 · $29.95 · Mar 2019
BUY Ebook · 408 pp. · ISBN 9780813942254 · $21.95 · Mar 2019
BUY Paper · 408 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813947549 · $21.95 · Aug 2021

American Revolution Round Table of New York City Best Book Prize, American Revolution Round Table of New York City (2020); Society of the Cincinnati Book Prize, Society of the Cincinnati (2019); Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award - Honorable Mention, Fraunces Tavern Museum (2020)

In The Road to Guilford Courthouse, one of the most acclaimed military histories of the Revolutionary War ever written, John Buchanan explored the first half of the critical Southern Campaign and introduced readers to its brilliant architect, Major General Nathanael Greene. In this long-awaited sequel, Buchanan brings this story to its dramatic conclusion.

Greene’s Southern Campaign was the most difficult of the war. With a supply line stretching hundreds of miles northward, it revealed much about the crucial military art of provision and transport. Insufficient manpower a constant problem, Greene attempted to incorporate black regiments into his army, a plan angrily rejected by the South Carolina legislature. A bloody civil war between Rebels and Tories was wreaking havoc on the South at the time, forcing Greene to address vigilante terror and restore civilian government. As his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson during the campaign shows, Greene was also bedeviled by the conflict between war and the rights of the people, and the question of how to set constraints under which a free society wages war.

Joining Greene is an unforgettable cast of characters—men of strong and, at times, antagonistic personalities—all of whom are vividly portrayed. We also follow the fate of Greene’s tenacious foe, Lieutenant Colonel Francis, Lord Rawdon. By the time the British evacuate Charleston—and Greene and his ragged, malaria-stricken, faithful Continental Army enter the city in triumph—the reader has witnessed in telling detail one of the most punishing campaigns of the Revolution, culminating in one of its greatest victories.


Using primary sources along with historian analysis, Buchanan presents a lively chronicle of the arduous fight of the Americans to reclaim Georgia and the Carolinas…. With a colorful cast of characters...[t]his engaging read for military and American history enthusiasts provides an in-depth review and argument for the criticality of Greene’s contribution to American Independence.

Library Journal

"Outstanding—easily the best in the literature on the subject. Buchanan argues persuasively that human agency is as vital a factor in war as chance, and that Greene’s decisions, both good and bad, were critical in the eventual American success in the southern theater. His book is military history at its best."

Mark Edward Lender,, coauthor of, Kean University, coauthor of Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle

Written in the same lively, engaging style as his prior "Road to" books on the American Revolution, Jack Buchanan's The Road to Charleston will likewise become essential reading for anyone interested in the Revolution's Southern Campaign. The author does not shy from taking an opinionated stand (always well supported) on controversial or long disputed issues, such as the Waxhaws massacre, the Siege of Ninety Six, and--in a particularly masterful chapter--the Battle of Eutaw Springs, the most important of Nathanael Greene's South Carolina engagements. What emerges is a vivid portrait of Greene--"a great and good man" who, through genius and persistence, drove the British from Charleston.

John Oller, author of The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution and American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague--Civil War "Belle of the North" and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal

The Road to Charleston stands as an imposing sequel to Buchanan's classic earlier works on the American Revolutionary War. This authoritative and engaging volume represents a magisterial study. Must read history at its very best.

James Kirby Martin, University of Houston, author of Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered

The story of Yorktown and of Lord Cornwallis’s surrender there in October 1781 is one that most of us know.... The part of the story many Americans don’t know is that the Revolutionary War dragged on for another year and three months, more or less, with a lot more fighting in the South, where the British continued to do battle in the hope that Americans who remained loyal to the crown would join them in putting down the rebellion..... John Buchanan chronicles this post-Yorktown period of the war in The Road to Charleston: Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution, and it is a chilling tale.

Wall Street Journal

[A] thoughtful and reasoned approach essential to producing quality historical scholarship.... Readers will not be disappointed with this book. In both style and substance, John Buchanan produced a wonderfully written account of the Southern theater worthy of the discriminating reader.

Journal of the American Revolution

Buchanan’s tone of familiarity and interpretive commentary on the events and historical personages involved reveal his erudition and thoughtful reflections on the many primary sources used.... This is a readable scholarly narrative history, including portraits and maps, likely to arouse the interest of students and general readers.


Pack such information into a book combining good writing with good research and that volume's appeal is magnetic. The Road to Charleston is such a book.

American History Magazine

The Road to Charleston is wide-ranging, persuasive, and clever. Academic historians will... appreciate this updated treatment of the Continental Army's final major campaign. Popular audiences will also learn much from his sophisticated history.

The Journal of Military History

The final stages of the Revolutionary War in the southern states has been a rather neglected topic, and the author is well qualified to pen this volume. A knowledgeable historian, thorough researcher, and lively writer, Buchanan has written what is likely to remain the authoritative account of the topic. Readers will discover a captivating tale as they follow the heroic struggle for liberty on The Road to Charleston.


The writing style is engaging, offering vivid descriptions of the key military and political figures of the southern campaign.... For those interested in military history, and particularly the war in South Carolina, this book offers an excellent resource.

Journal of Southern History

Buchanan's The Road to Charleston is a military history of those grim years and of General Nathanael Greene's ultimate victory there. In this narrative, Buchanan makes a solid case for Greene (August 7, 1742-June 19, 1786) as an indispensable aid to victory in the South.... [An] absorbing account.

American Spirit Magazine

About the Author(s): 

John Buchanan, former chief registrar of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the author of The Road to Valley Forge: How Washington Built the Army that Won the Revolution and The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas.

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