Heroes and Villains of the Revolution

CHARLESTON –    Did the villain of Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot” have a real-life counterpart?  Does Benedict Arnold deserve his reputation as the great traitor of American history?  What is General Robert E. Lee’s connection to Revolutionary War cavalry commander Light Horse Harry?  How did the fabled Swamp Fox wage war on the British?  These questions and others will be discussed at the upcoming “Heroes and Villains of the American Revolution” lecture series at the Old Exchange Building.

The Old Exchange Building, a 501(c) (3) historic site, is excited to announce its’ first series of 2014.  As South Carolina’s most historic building we are committed to offering educational and entertaining programming.  Our focus this year will be on the American Revolution.  What better way to engage the public than by examining those personalities who were so prominent during this pivotal time?  Our 5-part series will zero in on those larger than life heroes and villains of the War for American Independence.  We have gathered a diverse group of authors, scholars and historians to illuminate the past in a unique and fun way!  For more information check out the schedule below!

2014 Old Exchange Lecture Series: Heroes and Villains of the American Revolution

 $25 Non-member season pass or $7.00 each lecture at the door

All lectures are at 6 PM.

Friends of the Old Exchange members get reduced rate of $20 for season pass or $5.00 each lecture at the door



March 26

“Light Horse Harry Lee.”  Dr. James Piecuch

All lectures are at 6 PM.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee played a key role in freeing South Carolina from British occupation in 1781. In cooperation with Francis Marion he captured several key British posts, forcing the British to evacuate the backcountry. He also fought at the siege of Ninety Six and in the crucial Battle of Eutaw Springs. This lecture will cover Lee’s service and contributions to the American victory in South Carolina in 1781.

Jim Piecuch earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of New Hampshire and a Ph.D. in history from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He is an associate professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Piecuch is the author of numerous articles on colonial and Revolutionary history as well as several books, including The Battle of Camden: A Documentary History (2006), Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Revolutionary South (2008),“Cool Deliberate Courage”: John Eager Howard in the American Revolution, co-authored with John Beakes (2009), “The Blood Be Upon Your Head”: Tarleton and the Myth of Buford’s Massacre (2010), The Cavalry of the American Revolution (2012), General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South, co-edited with Gregory Massey (2012), and Light Horse Harry Lee in the War for Independence (2013), co-authored with John Beakes. He has also contributed many articles and served as an assistant editor on several projects for reference publisher ABC-CLIO, including the Encyclopedia of North American Colonial Conflicts, the Encyclopedia of the North American Indian Wars, US Leadership in Wartime, and Wars of the Early Republic.

 “Achieving Notoriety: Lessons from ‘Bloody Ban’.”  Joe Long

Learn from the life of Banastre Tarleton how to assure that your name will forever be associated with cruelty, ruthlessness and general knavery.  If Tarleton could achieve this – despite his handicaps of noble ancestry, good looks, physical bravery and great tactical ability – you can too!

Joe Long is the Curator of Education for the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, where he has worked since 2002.  He holds a Master’s Degree in History from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia.  Joe has been published in Civil War Historian magazine, the journal of the South Carolina Historical Society, and elsewhere; he has also appeared on the television shows “History Detectives”, “Carolina Stories” and the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum”.  Joe has written or co-written several of the Confederate Relic Room’s exhibits and is currently working on a children’s book about South Carolina war horses, and a biography of General Maxcy Gregg.  As yet, Joe has achieved notoriety only within a limited circle of acquaintances.



 April 9

All lectures are at 6 PM. 

“Crescent Moon over Carolina: William Moultrie and American Liberty.”  Dr. C.L. Bragg

 Dr. C. L. “Chip” Bragg is a practicing anesthesiologist in Thomasville, Georgia, where he resides with his wife and three sons. His lifelong passion for American history resulted in the publication of two books about the War Between the States: Distinction in Every Service: Brigadier General Marcellus A. Stovall, C.S.A. (White Mane, 2001) and the critically acclaimed Never for Want of Powder: The Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2007) of which he is coauthor. His interest in William Moultrie was sparked while studying his family’s South Carolina heritage and his personal connection to the Revolutionary War. The University of South Carolina Press recently released his latest volume, Crescent Moon over Carolina: William Moultrie and American Liberty.

 “Everyone Loves (to hate) a Traitor: Benedict Arnold and America’s Need for a Heel.”

 W. Eric Emerson is a native of Charlotte, N.C., and holds a BA in history from UNC-Charlotte and a MA and Ph.D. in history from the University of Alabama. He has served as editor of the South Carolina Historical Magazine and as executive director of the South Carolina Historical Society and the Charleston Library Society. In 2009 he became the sixth director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and State Historic Preservation Officer. He serves on a variety of local, state, and national boards and is the author of Sons of Privilege: The Charleston Light Dragoons in the Civil War (USC Press, 2006) and co-editor of Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose (USC Press, 2010) and A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden (USC Press, 2012).

WK3 week3

May 14

All lectures are at 6 PM.

 “Getting to know Isaac Hayne – A hero whose life was given for the cause of independence.”

 Edward Findley Smith is a native South Carolinian originally from Anderson County.  Findley and his wonderful wife, Virginia, retired to the Lowcountry after careers in public education.  He holds a BA in history from Erskine College and a M. Ed. in Educational Administration from Clemson University.  During 30 years as an educator, Findley was a teacher of history and journalism and served as a principal on the middle and elementary school levels.  Since moving to Charleston Findley has been a licensed tour guide so his passion for history did not retire.  His work at the Old Exchange inspired to explore the life of Isaac Hayne, a Revolutionary War hero whose story has not been told in many general histories.  It is Findley’s desire to bring to light this ardent Patriot’s devotion and dignity in the face of almost unimaginable challenge.       

 Sir Henry Clinton: Misunderstood Genius” Carl Borick

During the Revolutionary War, General Sir Henry Clinton was commander-in-chief of British forces in North America longer than any other officer and he presided over the greatest Crown victory of the war, the capture of Charleston in May 1780.  He, however, became a scapegoat for the loss of America.  Carl Borick, Director of The Charleston Museum, will examine this South Carolina “villain” in the context of his brilliant success in the Siege of Charleston, his relationship with fellow officers and his quirky personality.

Carl Borick is the Director of the Charleston Museum in Charleston, SC.  Carl is a CPA, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Alabama.   He is the author of two books on the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780, published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2003 and recently re-printed in paperback, and Relieve Us of This Burthen: American Prisoners of War in the Revolutionary South, 1780-1782, released by USC Press in 2012.  A Gallant Defense won the 2003 George C. Rogers, Jr. Award from the South Carolina Historical Society for the year’s best book in South Carolina history.    He has served as curator for several special exhibitions at the Charleston Museum, focusing on the Revolutionary War, World War II and African Americans after the Civil War.   He has also appeared as a consulting historian on Battlefield Detectives on the History Channel as well as History Detectives on PBS.  Carl and his wife Susan are the proud parents of two sons, Caleb and Nathanael.

 week4 June 13

All lectures are at 6 PM.

“Leadership and Innovation in Uncertain Times. The Partisan Campaign of Brigadier General Francis Marion.”  Colonel Scott Aiken

Colonel Scott Aiken is currently assigned as the Fleet Marine Officer with U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a career Marine Corps infantry officer with over twenty-eight years of service. Since September 11, 2001, he has deployed four times in support of the War on Terrorism, to include operations at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, eastern Africa and Iraq. He has held a variety of command and staff billets. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Scott is married to his “Georgia Peach,” Valerie. He is a Compatriot of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and a Member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. Scott is the co-author of Donelson and Hermitage Tennessee, A Suburban History, and the author of The Swamp Fox:  Lessons in Leadership from the Partisan Campaigns of Francis Marion.

 During the American Revolution, Brigadier General Francis Marion’s partisan campaign prevented South Carolina from completely succumbing to British control during the critical period between the capture of Charleston in May 1780 and the start of Major General Nathanael Greene’s campaign to recover the Southern Colonies in December 1780. Upon the arrival of Greene’s Continental Army, Marion’s forces then reverted in part to an important supporting role for the duration of the War. He later assisted in the establishment of the authority of the State of South Carolina and contributed to its post-conflict termination. Many of Marion’s partisan actions were forerunners of today’s tactics, showing his great innovativeness and foresight as a military leader. Such similarity makes Marion’s partisan campaign worth study by current military and political leaders.     

 Marion was consistently effective across the full spectrum of conflict. He used guerrilla tactics centered on the ambush for his partisan engagements to attrite British forces and disperse Loyalist units. Marion coupled these actions with attacks on supply lines to exasperate the British supply problem. Additionally, he used siege warfare and unique weapons to attack and defeat enemy fortifications. When providing manpower to bolster the ranks of the Continental Army, Marion readily conformed to the linear tactics of the day. The fact that during his partisan campaign he maintained his basic tactics shows that his doctrine proved sound. These tactics were centered on the extensive use of reconnaissance, violent attacks characterized by speed, multiple units and a rapid withdrawal.

If Marion had not taken action during the American Revolution, there is a good possibility that eastern South Carolina would have succumbed to British intent. That, coupled with the British occupation of Charleston, may have provided the British with the requisite momentum needed to conquer the South. Thankfully, Marion’s call to action both militarily and politically prevented such momentum.

 “Nisbet Balfour” Alexandra Saad

 Nisbet Balfour was a man of conflict and conviction who’s actions remain the subject of great debate to this day.  Scandalous affairs, high treason and political intrigue shaped his early life in Scotland.  As a soldier, he nearly met death on several occasions and clashed constantly with his peers.  Several members of his family suffered sudden and violent deaths, while he unconventionally chose never to marry.  This talk will explore the major events that shaped Balfour’s life, his motivations, his time in Charleston and his ultimate title as “villain” in American history.

Alexandra Saad was born in the northern USA and now resides in downtown Charleston.  She holds an MA in European History from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where she lived for several years while conducting research for her upcoming publications.  She has previously worked for the Charleston Museum and the Old Exchange Building, and is an active member of the Historic Charleston Foundation. 



June 25

All lectures are at 6 PM.

“African Americans and the Revolutionary War: Why they fought?” Donald West

 Donald West is an instructor and coordinator in the Department of History, Humanities and Political Science at Trident Technical College. He teaches US history, African history and African American history. He is a travel enthusiast as well as an active member of the International Education Center at TTC.

 In 1998, West was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to travel and study in the Republic of Cameroon. He has also traveled to Ghana, Senegal, and Gambia, where he has visited important historic sites connected to the Atlantic Slave Trade. In 2008, he traveled as project director of a Fulbright-Hays with 12 other educators to Guinea and Sierra Leone.

West is also an active member in archival management and museum education, the work he did for 16 years prior to joining Trident Tech. He has published and presented in the fields of history, archives, and museums. West is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore and the University of Cincinnati.

 “Lord Cornwallis” Larry Grant

 Larry Grant’s lecture will focus on Lord Cornwallis’s operations in the South, concentrating on the period of Sir Henry Clinton’s siege of Charleston, the city’s fall, and surrender, and the subsequent campaign in the Carolinas from Charleston to Wilmington.  This will cover a period from about January 1780 to about April 1781, and will include a short introduction to his activities prior to coming south and also a postscript to cover his later years.

Larry Grant is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in European and U.S. history. Upon graduation he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy, serving twenty-three years as a surface line officer in various ships and staff positions traveling the United States, Europe, Far East, and the Middle East.

 When he retired from the Navy in 2006, Grant returned to history and writing full time. As a volunteer at the South Carolina Historical Society, he edited Maj. Gen. Johnson Hagood’s post-World War I memoir, Caissons Go Rolling Along, A Memoir of American in Post-World War I Germany. He also authored several other short works on the First World War. After working several years with The Citadel Oral History Program as an editor and interviewer, he added undergraduate teaching, also at The Citadel, to his projects. He is currently exploring the history of the Union Navy’s 1863 attack on Charleston among other projects.


2014 Old Exchange Lecture Series: Heroes and Villains of the American Revolution

 $25 Non-member season pass or $7.00 each lecture at the door

Friends of the Old Exchange members get reduced rate of $20 for season pass or $5.00 each lecture at the door.

     Michael D. Coker
     Old Exchange Building
     122 East Bay St.
     Charleston, SC 29401
     (843) 727-2165

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