Repot on the National Significance of the Winter Campaign in Georgia, 1778-1779

Repot on the National Significance of the Winter Campaign in Georgia, 1778-1779

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Clark, Murtie June
Creator: Georgia. Dept. of Natural Resources.
Creator: United States. Dept. of the Interior.
Creator: United States. National Park Service.
Title: Repot on the National Significance of the Winter Campaign in Georgia, 1778-1779
Dates: 1978
Quantity: 0.08 Linear feet (1 folder; MS 1624 to MS 1629 in 1 box)
Coll. Number: ms1624

Biographical/Historical Note

"By 1778 the [Revolutionary] war in the North had reached a stalemate. The British high command decided to try a southern strategy. Southern governors like Sir James Wright had assured Lord George Germain, the American Secretary in Britain, that hundreds of loyalists bided their time in the backcountry, waiting for the king's troops. General Sir Henry Clinton in New York ordered Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell to invade Georgia with 3,000 troops, and to restore the state to British rule, thus setting an example for the restoration of other former colonies.

Prior to Campbell's attack upon Georgia, General Augustine Prevost conducted a cattle raid into the lower Georgia counties. As a diversion, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Fuser demonstrated against Fort Morris at Sunbury. When Fuser demanded the surrender of the fort, its commander, Lieutenant Colonel John McIntosh bravely answered, "Come and take it!" Fuser withdrew and Georgia honored McIntosh as a hero.

On December 28, 1778, Campbell's army landed unopposed on a bluff below Savannah, advanced through the swamps by an unguarded path, and overwhelmed General Robert Howe's defenders of Savannah. Campbell waited until January 12 for the arrival of Prevost's Royal Americans and Brown's Rangers from Florida, and on January 24 began a march with Brown's Rangers to Augusta in the backcountry. Except for a skirmish at the Burke County courthouse involving Brown's Rangers, Campbell was unopposed. Some ninety of George Galphin's slaves sought their freedom from Campbell and were escorted to Savannah.

Campbell took possession of Augusta on January 31, 1779. The southern strategy seemed to be successful when 1,400 men came in to Augusta to sign up in the royal militia. However, the British Indian allies were badly delayed, and on February 14th several hundred loyalists were cut off at Kettle Creek in Wilkes County by South Carolinians under Andrew Pickens and Georgians under Elijah Clarke and John Dooly. Alarmed by the approach of 1,200 North Carolinians under General John Ashe, Campbell withdrew from Augusta on the same day as the Battle of Kettle Creek. Ashe's troops, Samuel Elbert's Georgia Continentals, and Andrew Williamson's South Carolina militia followed the retreating British. On March 3 the British, now commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Mark Prevost, turned upon the Americans and routed them at the Battle of Briar Creek.

If Kettle Creek ensured the continued independence of upper Georgia, Briar Creek meant that the lower part of the state returned to British rule. Campbell named Lieutenant Colonel James Mark Prevost acting governor until Sir James Wright's arrival. Campbell then took passage for England, having succeeded in his pledge to remove a star from the American flag.

General Benjamin Lincoln marched his Continentals to Augusta to support the organization of civil government there, whereupon General Augustine Prevost threatened an attack upon Charleston, drawing Lincoln down with all haste."


Revolutionary War in Georgia. New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of a report which was prepared as a preliminary study to be submitted to the United States Department of Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., and the Georgia Natural Resources Department, Atlanta, Georgia, for the primary purpose of reevaluating certain Georgia Revolutionary War Battle Sites. The project was not completed.

Index Terms

Georgia--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Repot on the National Significance of the Winter Campaign in Georgia, 1778-1779, MS 1624. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing