In the massive multi-volume history of the United States entitled “The American Nation,” which was edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, the story of Georgia's role in the American Revolution is spelled out very clearly.
In Volume 6 of The American Nation, entitled “Provincial America, 1690-1740,” which was written by Evarts Boutell Greene, it was recorded that the political experience of Georgia was unlike that of any other English colony. No provision was made for a representative legislature and none was established.
In 1741, while Oglethorpe was making Frederica his military headquarters, the colony was divided into two counties: Savannah County, or the territory between the Savannah and the Ogeechee Rivers; and Frederica County, the territory southward to the border with Spanish Florida.
Oglethorpe was in charge of Frederica County, but the government of Savannah County was entrusted to William Stephens, former secretary to the trustees. He was assigned four assistants: Henry Parker, Thomas Jones, John Fallowfield, and Samuel Mercer.
In 1743, when Oglethorpe returned to England, the authority of President Stephens was extended to cover all of Georgia. This arrangement continued until the surrender of the charter and the final institution of the royal government in 1754.
In volume 8 of The American Nation, entitled “Preliminaries of the Revolution, 1763-1775,” which was written by George Elliott Howard, the actions of Great Britain which pushed the colonies into open rebellion is described in detail.
Six months after the adjournment of the First Continental Congress, the Association of 1774 was ratified by all the colonies except Georgia and New York. The purpose of this group was simple: implement trade sanctions against Great Britain which would cause her to lift the “Intolerable Acts.”
George Washington himself wrote in October of 1774 that independence from Great Britain was not “desired by any thinking man in all North America.”
The British responded with the “New England Restraining Act”, prohibiting American vessels from fishing in the North Atlantic. This essentially forced the colonies to declare their complete and irrevocable independence from Great Britain.
In Volume 9 of The American Nation, which was entitled “The American Revolution, 1776-1783,” written by Claude Halstead Van Tyne, the anger which most colonists had towards Great Britain becomes quite clear.
Richard Henry Lee (of Virginia) rose in Congress, June 7, 1776 and proposed “That these united colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent states,” and their connection with Great Britain dissolved.
Early in 1777, laws were passed in every state except South Carolina and Georgia that attacked those “divers traitors” (or those who adhered to the king of Great Britain) for their stands.
Georgia, however, was the most loyal colony of the original 13 towards the crown. In fact, the Tory majority was so large that even as late as 1781Georgian Tories were preparing to detach that colony from the rebellion underway in the other colonies.
After Patriot General Robert Howe's forces in Savannah were attacked by Colonel Campbell with three thousand men, he was compelled to surrender Savannah on December 29, 1778.
Once British General Prevost captured the patriot garrison at Sunbury, and British Colonel Campbell overran the city of Augusta, the state of Georgia was almost wholly under British control.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger firstname.lastname@example.org