Historical novelist William Gilmore Simms first published The Forayers in 1855 at the peak of his reputation and ability. Simms had set out to create a prose epic through a series of linked novels detailing American history and struggles from early colonization to the mid-nineteenth century. The Forayers, which was the sixth book in his series of eight Revolutionary War novels set in the South, describes events around Orangeburg, South Carolina, before the Battle of Eutaw Springs (itself covered in this novel's sequel, Eutaw). It features such characters as Hell-fire Dick, a hardhearted, foul-mouthed looter under Tory protection. Simms hoped his readers would find this book a bold, brave, masculine story; frank, ardent, vigorous; faithful to humanity. He described it to a friend as fresh and original and wrote that the characterization [is] as truthful as forcible. It is at once a novel of society & a romance.