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American Revolution battles increase along Savannah River
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: In the run-up to the American Revolution and the fighting, South Georgia and the Bulloch County area played a major role. The following is one of a series of articles about some lesser known incidents surrounding the Revolution in South Georgia.

William Moultrie wrote a two volume work, entitled “Memoirs of the American Revolution, so far as it Related to the States of N. & S. Carolina and Georgia, compiled from the Most Authentic Materials,” published in 1802. Moultrie revealed the General Orders issued by Gen. Lincoln, at his new headquarters at Purisburg (Purrysburg), on January 3rd, 1779. He said "had Gen. Howe gone up the country, we should soon have joined him."

If the American army had gathered at Purisburgh, it would have "made a body of 2,000 men; (in addition), reinforcements were marching to us from Augusta, Ninety-six, and many other parts of Georgia and Carolina."

And, "in a short time, we should have had an army of 4 or 5,000 men; with them we could have marched down to Savannah, before the British could have had time to fortify, and before (being) reinforced by (Florida) troops."

Instead, "Gen. Howe gave us a particular account of his unfortunate affair in Savannah, (for) he left the remains of his troops on the other side of the river, at the 'two sisters' (ferry), under the command of Col. Isaac Huger."

General Lincon wrote "in Gen. Howe's defeat, we lost the aid (of) the citizens of that state, as the British immediately encamped the troops along Savannah over up to Augusta, (and) continued the war one year longer."

Brigadier Gen. Moultrie wrote a letter to Col. Pinckney, the president of the South Carolina Senate, and member of South Carolina's Council of Safety from Purisburg on Jan. 10, 1779.

It stated "Dear Sir, the N. Carolinians (are) about two miles from us. Our numbers are about 500 privates (continentals) and the North-Carolinians about 1,200 of all ranks; we are all in good spirits."

In addition, "from all the intelligence we can get, their numbers on the opposite side of the river to us, amount to about 1,500 and they occupy all the posts near us, over which we could possibly pass."

Therefore, Moultrie proposed "I think we should have 5,000 men before we cross the river, as we shall get immediately into action. I fear we have lost Sunberry."

What's more, "The officer commanding had about 120 continentals and some inhabitants (but) refused to evacuate the post, Don Quixote-like, thinking he (could) withstand the whole force the British had in Georgia."

The British commander, "Col. Campbell (and) the main body of the enemy is posted at Abbercorne, 6 miles below (us)." Moultrie wrote him another letter on January 14.

He informed Pinckney that "I have detached from my brigade, a captain, and 40 men, to endeavor to get through the swamps, and surprize them. His next letter to Pinckney was dated January 16.

It continued, "I had sent a party to Yamassee bluff, but we were misinformed; they discovered the enemy had been there, but had left. We are (now) informed that the enemy are in force about 4,000.

They have posted "600 at Two-sisters; about 200 at Zubly-Ferry; their main body at 'Abbercorne': and 1,000 Hessians at Savannah. These deserters inform that 1500 more are expected from Augustine."

"The deserters (also) tell us about 200 Georgians have already joined the enemy, and most of them horsemen." Moultrie ended his letter asking "cannot our country raise a body of 4 or 500 men to counteract them?

Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail him at

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