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“W” is for Wilkinson, Eliza Yonge (b. 1757)

“W” is for Wilkinson, Eliza Yonge (b. 1757). Chronicler, letter writer. Wilkinson is remembered principally for her letters, twelve of which were edited from her original letterbook and published after her death. The letters cover a two-year period from the spring of 1779 until sometime following the surrender of Lord Cornwallis in October 1781. The letters describe events leading up to the British invasion of the lowcountry, a time of nervous anticipation and waiting; the direct experience with the enemy in wartime: the confrontations and threats as homes are invaded and pillaged; and forced flights to safety in the dead of night; daily life as experienced against the backdrop of enemy occupation, and the surreal reality of an uneasy truce in the middle of wartime. Eliza Yonge Wilkinson’s letters are memorable for their emotional impact and dramatic flair.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.