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A Game of Hare & Hounds

An Operational-Level Command Study of the Guilford Courthouse Campaign, 18 January-15 March 1781

Harold Allen Skinner Jr.

DOI: 10.56686/9781732003163


How did a narrow tactical victory for the British at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, during the American Revolutionary War lead to the failure of the British Southern Campaign? This volume offers an indispensable point of departure for a staff ride to the battlefield at Guilford Courthouse, providing a systematic analysis of this key battle in the American Revolution. Author Harold Allen Skinner Jr.’s narrative establishes necessary context to illuminate the decisions that shaped the overall contest in the South between American and British armies. Skinner’s deft presentation of the events leading up to and during the pivotal battle of Guilford Courthouse reveals insights at the three levels of war and provides a balanced treatment of issues, such as command at the strategic and operational levels and organization of armies, weapons, and tactics. His approach gets straight to the central purpose and greatest value of a staff ride: the critical process of analyzing how and why events played out as they did.

Harold Allen Skinner Jr. currently serves as the command historian for the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute (SSI), located at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. From August 2019 to January 2020, Skinner deployed under the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce program as the theater historian for Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). He was awarded the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award for his theater historian accomplishments. From April 2015 to July 2019, Skinner was the command historian for the 81st Division (Readiness), U.S. Army Reserve, at Fort Jackson. He retired as an Army major from the Active Guard/Reserve program in 2015 after 25 years of service with six operational tours, which included deployments in support of Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Previous military assignments included military history detachment commander, task force historian, and command historian for the Indiana National Guard and the 38th Infantry Division. Skinner received a bachelor of science in administration of justice from the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a master of military art and science in military history from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is currently enrolled in the history PhD program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Skinner’s most recent published work, The Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Kings Mountain—7 October 1780, was released by the Army University Press in April 2020 and was later selected as a finalist for a 2020 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award. Other recent works include a series of peer reviewed articles for 1914–1918 Online: The International Encyclopedia of the First World War, and an article published in the Army Chaplain’s Journal telling the story of the first Army chaplain awarded the Medal of Honor.



Part I:
The Opposing Forces
Unit Organizations
Engineer Support 


Part II:
The Southern Campaign Overview
The British Southern Campaign 
Consolidation and Pacification 
Kings Mountain 
The Cowpens 
The Race for the Dan 
Hare and Hounds with Cornwallis 
Opening Dispositions 
The First Line Engagement 
The Second Line Engagement 
The British Engage the Continental Line 
The Fight in the South 
The Aftermath 

Part III:
Field Study Phase—Suggested Routes and Stands 
Guilford Courthouse Campaign Staff Ride Stands 
Modifications to the Two-Day Staff Ride 
Sequencing of Stands 
Staff Ride Methodology 
Day One: Guilford Courthouse Campaign Staff Ride Stands 
Stand 1—Campaign Overview
Stand 2—Cornwallis’s Pursuit, from the Cowpens to Cowan’s Ford 
Stand 3—Cowan’s Ford to Trading Ford (Yadkin River), 2–6 February 1781 
Stand 4—Crossing the Yadkin and the Race for the Dan River, 6–15 February 1781 
Stand 5—The Battle of Whitesell’s Mill, 6 March 1781 
Stand 6—The Skirmish at New Garden Meeting House 
Day Two: Tactical Level Guilford Courthouse Stands 
Stand 1—The Road to Guilford Courthouse (Operational Orientation) 
Stand 2—The Tactical Situation 
Stand 3—Cornwallis Deploys for Battle—Hoskins Farmstead 
Stand 4—The American First Line Deployment 
Stand 5—Breaking of the First Line 
Stand 6—The Fragmented Attack 
Stand 7—Lawson’s Brigade of the Virginia State Line 
Stand 8—Stevens’s Brigade of the Virginia State Line 
Stand 9—The Fight in the South 
Stand 10—The Third Line—Webster’s Attack 
Stand 11—The Third Line—The 2d Guards and 1st Maryland Engagement 
Stand 12—The Third Line—Continental Counterattack 
Stand 13—The Third Line—The Continentals╩╝ Withdrawal 
Stand 14—The Butcher’s Bill

Part IV:

Part V:

Appendix A:
Biographical Sketches of Major Participants

Appendix B:
Orders of Battle

Appendix C:
Chronology of Major Events

Selected Glossary

6 x 9 coil bound
184 pages
PDF download

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