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American Revolution Battles in Georgia
Transcript of American Revolution Battles in Georgia
Battle of Rice Boats
In early 1776 some of the British fleet arrived at Cockspur Island, in the Savannah River, to buy supplies. Governor Wright spoke to the Patriot Council of Safety asking them to sell the supplies to the British. The Council of Safety refused to sell the supplies and held Governor Wright prisoner effectively ending royal rule in the state.
Soon, additional ships and troops arrived off Tybee Island. Wright boarded a British ship, along with almost all his loyalist advisers.
On March 1 and 2, 1776 the British fleet sailed up the Savannah River towards Savannah. The British were searching for supplies.
Georgia's Council of Safety reacted quickly. They told the local militia to set boats on fire to force the British away. The Inverness, loaded with rice and deer skins, was set on fire and cut loose. It drifted into the British ship Nelly and set it on fire. While some 500 Whigs from South Carolina join the 600 Georgia rebels, the two ships drifted downstream, setting three more ships on fire. Governor Wright barely escaped.
In November of 1778, after Sir Henry Clinton decided that the British would begin its "Southern Strategy," General Augustine Prevost, commander of British forces in British East Florida prepared the first British invasion of Georgia
Prevost's army split into two units. The first unit was commanded by General Prevost's brother, Lt. Col. Mark Prevost, the second by Lt. Col. L. V. Fuser. Fuser's column marched up the seacoast, while Prevost's marched along with them, but several miles inland.
On November 22, 1778, 100 soldiers under the command of Continental Army Colonel John White and Major James Jackson confronted Prevost's 700 professional soldiers a mile and a half south of Midway in Liberty County.
White and Jackson were severely outnumbered, but they hoped to hold out until reinforcements arrived from Savannah. Colonel James Screven soon came, but he only had 20 soldiers. The Americans were forced to pull back to form a line at Midway Church. On November 24, 1778, Patriot forces won the Battle of Midway Church, forcing the British to withdraw.
Battle of Midway Church
British forces under the command of Colonel Campbell came from New York and landed with almost no fighting at Tybee Island on December 23, 1778.
With in a week (Dec. 29, 1778), the British troops captured Savannah.
The 670 patriot troops, under the command of General Robert Howe, were forced to retreat after the British moved around their northern flank through a swamp that was not heavily defended.
A slave named Quash Dolly helped the British get through the swamp.
Savannah was now in the hands of the British.
The Battle of Savannah
After several devestating losses in the north, the British turn their attention to the southern colonies.
The British are convinced that there are many loyalists ready to help them in South Carolina and Georgia.
They also want to avoid the French navy now that the French have joined the war.
In 1778, the British army sails south to start this new strategy. At first they have a lot of success, but the loyalist support never really happens.
Eventually the British lose the American Revolution while fighting in the South.
Some action in Georgia happened before this change in British plans.
The Battle of Kettle Creek
On February 14, 1779 Patriot forces under the command of Colonels Elijah Clarke, John Dooly and Andrew Pickens defeat a Loyalist force under the command of Major James Boyd. The Battle of Kettle Creek is an important Patriot victory because they captured guns, ammunition and other supplies the Patriots needed.
The British used Savannah as a base of operation and moved into other areas of Georgia.
The British defeat the Continental army at the Battle of Sunbury on January 6-9, 1779.
They then move into Augusta. British General Henry Clinton bragged that he had captured and now controlled the first of the 13 states.
However, he spoke too soon.
The Patriots will come back strong in the next months and years.
Augusta was too far away from Savannah to get supplies, and the Patriots were much stronger than the British thought. The British soon try to leave Agusta, but run in to trouble on the way.
The Battles of Sunbury and Augusta
Siege of Savannah 1779
With the help of the French Navy, the Patriot forces start a seige of Savannah hoping to make the British leave the city. The French Admiral D'estaing sent a message to the British commander to surrender. Instead General Prevost made his defenses stronger and refused to leave. After almost a month of waitng, the Americans and French attack. It is a disaster. Over 800 of the 3000 combined forces get killed. Polish Count Kasimir Polaksi is killed. He was one of many European officers who came to help the Americans.
For next 2 1/2 years, the British controlled Georgia.
The Patriots fight small battles but are not able to force the British out.
In January 1782 General "Mad" Anthony Wayne comes to Georgia and starts a strong attack on British held towns.
Georgia Under British Rule
May 1780-Jan. 1782
British Leave Georgia
General Wayne and the Patriots fight the
many times from Jan-July 1782.
Finally on July 10 & 11, Wayne's troops although outnumbered 2 to1 attack Savannah.
evacuate the city.
In 6 months the
are completely out of Georgia!