Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek

Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek



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A Patriot militia force of 340 led by Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina with Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia defeats a larger force of 700 Loyalist militia commanded by Colonel James Boyd on this day in 1779 at Kettle Creek, Georgia.

The Patriots attempted a two-pronged attack. Pickens’ line engaged the Loyalists, while Dooly and Clarke’s men attempted to cross the creek and surrounding swamp. Dooly and Clarke’s troops were soon bogged down in the difficult crossing and though Boyd had sent 150 of his men out to forage for food that morning, the Loyalists still had the upper hand.

The tide turned when the Loyalists saw their commander, Boyd, collapse from a musket wound. Panicked, they disintegrated into a disorderly retreat towards the creek as Pickens’ Patriots fired down upon their camp from above. Shortly thereafter, the two South Carolina commanders, Dooly and Clarke, emerged with their men from the swamp and surrounded the shocked Loyalists, who were attempting to retreat across the creek.

By the end of the action, the Loyalists suffered 70 killed and another 70 captured, compared to 9 killed and 23 wounded for the Patriots. Colonel Boyd, who was wounded during the engagement, died shortly afterward. The victory was the only significant Patriot victory in Georgia and delayed the consolidation of British control in the largely Loyalist colony.

In 1780, Colonel John Dooly was murdered at his log cabin home on his Georgia plantation by South Carolina Loyalists. Dooly County, Georgia, was named in his honor, and the spring near his former cabin in Lincoln County, Georgia, within the grounds of the Elijah Clarke State Park—named for his former Patriot partner—bears a historic marker in the martyred patriot’s memory.


Kettle Creek

In early February, 1779, Colonel John Boyd set out with a newly raised regiment of 800 Tories. His goal was to unite with British General Archibald Campbell’s force, which had successfully captured Augusta, Georgia. During their march south, however, Boyd’s men suffered about 100 casualties, inflicted upon them by pursuing Patriot partisans.

After crossing the Savannah River, Boyd ordered his men to rest and make camp on the north side of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County, Georgia. Unbeknownst to Boyd, about 350 Patriots under the overall command of Colonel Andrew Pickens were close by, preparing to strike.

Splitting his men into three columns, Pickens attacked at 10 A.M. on the morning of February 14, 1779. Catching the Tories by surprise, Pickens drove the enemy’s pickets back into their camp.

Although the Tories enjoyed numerical superiority, the Patriots’ sudden attack left them with little time to prepare. Perhaps hoping to buy time, Boyd ordered his main force to take defensive positions on a hill at the rear of the camp while he advanced with 100 men and took position behind a makeshift breastwork, opposite the Patriot center.

Boyd’s small detachment fought bravely, but his men were outflanked and driven back. Before he could reach the relative safety of his main force, Boyd was hit several times, falling mortally wounded on the field of battle.

As Pickens attacked in the center, his flanking columns under John Dooly and Elijah Clarke emerged from swampy ground on the left and right to join the assault on the Tory’s main line. Boyd’s regiment was now led by Major William Augustus Spurgeon Jr.

Eventually, despite outnumbering the Patriots roughly two-to-one and commanding the higher ground, the Tories began to give way, abandoning horses and supplies and fleeing across the creek.

By the time the fighting ceased the Tory regiment raised by Boyd was all but destroyed.

From beginning to end, the Battle of Kettle Creek lasted about four hours. Of about 700 men engaged, the Loyalists suffered roughly 200 casualties. On the Patriot side, Pickens’s force lost about 32 men killed and wounded. However, 33 Patriot prisoners being held by Boyd were freed when their captors were scattered.


The Battle of Kettle Creek is won

On this day in history, February 14, 1779, the Battle of Kettle Creek is won, which turns out to be one of the most important battles in Georgia during the American Revolution. The British had begun their southern strategy to take back the southern states by capturing Savannah in December, 1778. The strategy revolved around the belief that large numbers of Loyalists in the southern states would rally to the British and help defeat the patriot uprising. The Battle of Kettle Creek disproved the theory.

After capturing Savannah, a force was sent to take Augusta under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. Campbell dispatched well-known Loyalist militia leader John Boyd to travel through the Georgia and South Carolina back country to recruit Loyalist soldiers. Boyd was able to gather some 600 to 800 men and set out to rendezvous with Campbell, who had arrived in Augusta and taken the town without a fight on January 24.

Several smaller militia groups under South Carolina Major Andrew Pickens and Georgia Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel John Dooly and Elijah Clarke gathered together to attack Boyd’s Loyalists. On February 14, Boyd’s men stopped to rest and eat at Kettle Creek near present day Washington, Georgia. Pickens, in command of about 350 men, sent Dooly to the right and Clarke to the left, while his own men advanced from the center. An advance force in front of Pickens alarmed Boyd’s sentries and began firing, which alarmed Boyd’s entire camp, ruining the surprise attack. In addition, both Dooly’s and Clarke’s men were hindered in the swamps, ruining Pickens’ plan to attack from three sides.

In spite of these errors, Boyd met his fate when he was shot with a mortal wound causing the rest of his men to panic and scatter. Pickens advanced and Clarke was finally able to rally through the swamp and lead another attack on the main force of Loyalists. In the end, 9 patriots were killed and 23 wounded, while somewhere between 40 and 70 Loyalists were killed and another 75 taken prisoner. The more significant statistic though, is that only 270 of Boyd’s men finally joined Campbell’s British troops. The rest went home discouraged and afraid. Several of the prisoners were tried for treason and hung. The British defeat at Kettle Creek proved that Loyalist sentiment in the south was not as strong as the British had hoped.

Ironically, on the same day as the Battle of Kettle Creek, Campbell decided to abandon Augusta and head back to the coast, only three weeks after taking the town. He did this because of another gathering patriot army under Generals Andrew Williamson and John Ashe and because he didn’t know whether Boyd would succeed in bringing a large army of Loyalists to his aid. Of course, Campbell turned out to be right.

After the Battle of Kettle Creek, Major Pickens tended to the mortally wounded John Boyd, with whom he was probably acquainted. Boyd gave Pickens a message and some personal items to give to his wife, which he later did. Pickens would go on to serve in several major battles and be promoted to Brigadier General and would later become a member of the US House of Representatives from South Carolina.

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The Battle of Kettle Creek is won

On this day in history, February 14, 1779, the Battle of Kettle Creek is won, which turns out to be one of the most important battles in Georgia during the American Revolution. The British had begun their southern strategy to take back the southern states by capturing Savannah in December, 1778. The strategy revolved around the belief that large numbers of Loyalists in the southern states would rally to the British and help defeat the patriot uprising. The Battle of Kettle Creek disproved the theory.

After capturing Savannah, a force was sent to take Augusta under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. Campbell dispatched well-known Loyalist militia leader John Boyd to travel through the Georgia and South Carolina back country to recruit Loyalist soldiers. Boyd was able to gather some 600 to 800 men and set out to rendezvous with Campbell, who had arrived in Augusta and taken the town without a fight on January 24.

Several smaller militia groups under South Carolina Major Andrew Pickens and Georgia Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel John Dooly and Elijah Clarke gathered together to attack Boyd’s Loyalists. On February 14, Boyd’s men stopped to rest and eat at Kettle Creek near present day Washington, Georgia. Pickens, in command of about 350 men, sent Dooly to the right and Clarke to the left, while his own men advanced from the center. An advance force in front of Pickens alarmed Boyd’s sentries and began firing, which alarmed Boyd’s entire camp, ruining the surprise attack. In addition, both Dooly’s and Clarke’s men were hindered in the swamps, ruining Pickens’ plan to attack from three sides.

In spite of these errors, Boyd met his fate when he was shot with a mortal wound causing the rest of his men to panic and scatter. Pickens advanced and Clarke was finally able to rally through the swamp and lead another attack on the main force of Loyalists. In the end, 9 patriots were killed and 23 wounded, while somewhere between 40 and 70 Loyalists were killed and another 75 taken prisoner. The more significant statistic though, is that only 270 of Boyd’s men finally joined Campbell’s British troops. The rest went home discouraged and afraid. Several of the prisoners were tried for treason and hung. The British defeat at Kettle Creek proved that Loyalist sentiment in the south was not as strong as the British had hoped.

Ironically, on the same day as the Battle of Kettle Creek, Campbell decided to abandon Augusta and head back to the coast, only three weeks after taking the town. He did this because of another gathering patriot army under Generals Andrew Williamson and John Ashe and because he didn’t know whether Boyd would succeed in bringing a large army of Loyalists to his aid. Of course, Campbell turned out to be right.

After the Battle of Kettle Creek, Major Pickens tended to the mortally wounded John Boyd, with whom he was probably acquainted. Boyd gave Pickens a message and some personal items to give to his wife, which he later did. Pickens would go on to serve in several major battles and be promoted to Brigadier General and would later become a member of the US House of Representatives from South Carolina.

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Mister Soapstone

WASHINGTON – An archaeological dig in Wilkes County has opened a 229-year-old window to one of the pivotal points in the early years of the American Revolutionary War – and there’s evidence that it’s not exactly the way the history books tell it.

For centuries following the Feb. 14, 1779, battle at Kettle Creek, stories passed down through the generations pitted 350 Patriots against 700 Loyalists on only 12 acres of land.

But archaeologists have found evidence that the three-hour running battle stretched over at least 500 acres of property surrounding the traditional site where a monument and cemetery now stand.

Nine men and women working with The LAMAR Institute, a Savannah-based nonprofit archaeological research organization, last month unearthed dozens of musket balls, buttons, pieces of weapons and evidence of small farmsteads during a five-day dig on the 500 acres of property.

The study, funded through a $40,000, two-year grant from the National Park Service and the city of Washington, could lead to plans for a battleground park, city officials have said.

Each discovery in last month’s dig gave researchers a look into the day when the militiamen routed twice their number in new British recruits and made Southerners think twice about staying loyal to the Crown.

“This, by all accounts, was a guerrilla war,” said Dan Elliott, LAMAR Institute president and archaeologist. “This was neighbor against neighbor.”

And neighbors were definitely part of the battle – even if they didn’t want to be involved.

Evidence of at least three farmsteads – hand-wrought nails, collapsed chimneys and horseshoes – were found during the dig about 500 feet south of the battlefield monument, along with a few musket balls.

“Right now, we’re getting a rough idea of what life was like for people when this battle was raging on around them,” Elliott said.

The Patriots lost only seven men in the Battle of Kettle Creek, but dozens were injured and taken to a location north of War Hill – the traditional battlefield site – for treatment, researchers found.

Archaeologists found evidence during the dig to back up their theory about the location of this field hospital.

At least 18 buttons, likely from clothing that was ripped off men in order to treat their wounds, were found in one concentrated area – an unlikely discovery in an area that over the years has been picked over by artifact seekers, Elliott said.

The Kettle Creek battle was a vicious fight between Loyalists recruited by Col. James Boyd in South Carolina to fight on the side of the Crown and Patriots who were not ready for Georgia to be claimed by the British.

Historical accounts of the battle say an army led by Col. Andrew Pickens, Col. John Dooly and Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke tracked Boyd on his way to Augusta as he circled around through Wilkes County to avoid a Patriot army encamped on the Savannah River.

Pickens split his men into three groups and tried to sneak up on Boyd’s recruits while they camped at Kettle Creek, but scouts saw them.

Boyd was able to muster about 100 men to meet Pickens’ 140 at the top of a steep hill. Boyd was mortally wounded, causing the new troops to panic and retreat back to the camp.

Dooly was stuck in a canebrake on one side of the camp, but Clarke charged in from the other side.

In the end, 20 Loyalists were killed and 22 taken captive. About half the rest went back to South Carolina and the other half went on to Augusta, Elliott said.

Archaeologists believe they found the location of the Loyalists’ last stand.

Southwest of the traditional battlefield, metal detectors uncovered musket balls and musket ball fragments from a secluded hill off of Salem Church Road.

The fragments likely are evidence that musket balls hit trees as the loyalists crouched behind for protection, said David Battle, assistant director of the LAMAR Institute.

Researchers hope to label the musket balls as Patriot- or Loyalist-owned by determining the caliber and amount of lead found in each bullet, Battle said.

The rough terrain obviously was no problem for the Patriots, he said.

“These were woodsmen,” Battle said. “They were good shots who were used to fighting behind stumps and trees.”

Elliott said researchers likely will release an officially report of the team’s findings later this year.


Marker Text: The Battle of Kettle Creek, fought here on February 14, 1779, was one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War in Georgia. At that time, the State was almost completely under British control. Col. Boyd with 600 British sympathizers (Loyalists or Tories) crossed the Savannah River into present day Elbert County en route to the British Army then at Augusta. Patriots Col. Andrew Pickens with 200 S.C. militia and Col. John Dooly and Lt. Col. Elijah Clark with 140 Georgia Militia marched to overtake the Loyalists. On the morning of the 14th, Boyd and his men were camped here at a bend in the then flooded Kettle Creek. Their horses were grazing, sentries were posted, and most of the men were slaughtering cattle or searching for food. The Patriots attempted to attack the Loyalist camp by surprise but failed and a desperate battle raged on both sides of the creek for three hours before the Loyalists finally broke and fled. Col. Boyd and 20 of his men were killed and 22 captured. Pickens and Dooly lost seven killed and 14 or 15 wounded. Pickens later wrote that Kettle Creek “was the severest check and chastisement, the Tories ever received in South Carolina or Georgia.”

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Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek - HISTORY


Kettle Creek Battlefield Marker
Photo byMichael Dover courtesy of Historical Marker Database

One of the most important battles of the American Revolutionary War to be fought in Georgia occurred in Wilkes County, some 12 miles from present-day Washington, Georgia. Here on February 14, 1779, a force of 400 patriots, in a surprise attack, defeated a force of Loyalists twice their number. Savannah, Georgia, had recently been captured by the British on December 29, 1778, as part of the British “southern strategy” to pacify the South and separate it from the Middle and Northern rebellious colonies. Southern Loyalists welcomed the British arrival, while Southern patriots began to prepare for battle. Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, captured Savannah for the British with 3,500 men, soon came under the command of Brigadier General Augustine Prevost. Savannah had been defended by the American General Andrew Williamson from South Carolina, but he withdrew from the city when Campbell approached, fighting a rear-guard action with his roughly 1,000 Georgian and South Carolinian militia men.


Monument at site of Battle of Kettle Creek, erected in 1930
Photo by David Seibert courtesy Historical Marker Database

The morning of Sunday, February 14 (St. Valentine’s Day) 1779, Colonel James Boyd and his roughly 650 British Loyalists recruited from North and South Carolina broke camp and continued towards their rendezvous with 80 Tory (British Loyalists) horsemen under Captain John Hamilton, one of the most prominent Tories of the American Revolution, who they believed were waiting at Little River, not far away. Boyd was apparently unaware the men he was to rendezvous with had already retreated to the British Army.

At 10 A.M., the Loyalists hoisted their flags and beat their drums for the first time since they had entered Georgia. Hearing their drums, Colonel Andrew Pickens (later a U.S. Congressman), Col. John Dooly and Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke ordered their 400 patriot frontiersmen to “pick and prime” their weapons, which they checked, and then ordered those who had food to share it. Captain James McCall was sent forward to reconnoiter Boyd’s movements.


Battle of Kettle Creek Marker and Cemetery
Photo by David Seibert courtesy Historical Marker Database

Boyd and his Loyalists marched two miles further and halted on the north side of Kettle Creek, where some cows had been found for food. Not suspecting any danger, the Loyalists left their horses to graze and began butchering the cattle. Pickens, learning of the Loyalists’ actions from McCall, who had come within view of the Loyalists without being detected, ordered an attack. His order of battle, planned that morning, would see Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke, commander of one wing of about 50 men, crossing the creek to attack the Loyalists on the left, while Col. Dooley would do the same on the right with another 100 men. Pickens, who would make the attack from the center with the remaining men, was preceded by an advanced group 150 yards in front of him which had orders not to fire on the enemy. Pickens plan, had it been executed, would have surrounded the Loyalists and attacked them by surprise from three sides. However, the plan failed.

Pickens’ advance guard was extremely close to Boyd’s sentries before their impatience got the best of them and they began firing at the enemy sentries, warning the Loyalists. Colonel James Boyd advanced with roughly 100 Loyalists. Climbing a hill that was directly in Pickens’ path and lying down behind an old fence and some fallen trees, Boyd ambushed Pickens and his men when they were within 30 yards of his position. Some of Pickens’s men were killed and wounded as the battle seemed to go in the Loyalists’ favor.


click image for larger version
The Battle of Kettle Creek Marker (Side 2)

Photo by David Seibert courtesy Historical Marker Database

Three of the Patriots were separated from Clarke’s forces and found themselves near Boyd’s Loyalists. They fired upon Colonel Boyd. As Boyd fell, mortally wounded, the Loyalists panicked and ran. Pickens and his men pursued the fleeing Loyalists to their main group and captured the dying Boyd. Dooly and Clarke, meanwhile, did not cross the creek as ordered, but were stuck in the cane swamps on either side of the Loyalists. When the three wings of Pickens’ attack finally reached the main body of Loyalists, many of them had already crossed the creek and were reforming on a hill to their right. Lt. Col. Clarke ordered a charge across the creek to attack the Loyalists forces, but as he did so, his horse was shot from under him. He quickly remounted and crossed the creek at a ford that he found when he had fallen from his horse. However, no more than a quarter of his men heard him and followed.


Battle of Kettle Creek Marker
Photo byMichael Dover courtesy of Historical Marker Database

On the other side of the creek many more Loyalists were reforming on one side of the hill under Loyalist Major William Spurgin when Clarke attacked from the other side. Clarke, now reinforced by Pickens’ and Dooly’s men, who had crossed through his swamp, finally forced the Loyalists to retreat in confusion after a half-hour struggle. The entire battle was less than two hours. Although accounts of the Loyalist casualties vary, only 270 of those roughly 700 men reached the British forces between Augusta and Savannah. In addition 600 horses and a great deal of baggage were captured at Kettle Creek and Carr’s Fort, which had preceded Kettle Creek. After the battle, Pickens met with Boyd, who was still conscious, but dying from his wounds. One account states that Boyd gave Pickens a letter and some small items to send his wife. Boyd died early that evening.

The importance of the battle showed the determination of the Southern Patriots and was a reminder to the Loyalist forces that they were not safe in the open country, away from the British bases and army. In many ways the Revolutionary War was a civil war, with Loyalist militia forming whenever the British Army arrived in force. Loyalist units were particularly active in fighting in the Middle and Southern colonies. While never a majority of the colonial population, they consisted of a strong minority. After the Revolutionary war, an estimated 20% of Loyalists moved to Canada, where they were compensated for their losses by the British government.

The Kettle Creek battlefield, a wooded area, including “War Hill” is a 40 acre tract encircling a 500 foot high hill. Upon the hill the War Department placed the Kettle Creek Monument in 1930. The Georgia Historical Commission placed two historical markers in 1958 atop the hill and in 1962, 1973, and 1974 additional monuments were placed and some Revolutionary soldiers reburied atop the hill. Kettle Creek Battlefield was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1975.


Contents

The British began their Southern Strategy by sending expeditions from New York City and Saint Augustine, East Florida to capture the port of Savannah, Georgia in December 1778. The New York expedition, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, arrived first and landed at Tybee Island on December 3, 1778 and successfully captured Savannah on December 29, 1778. [5]

British occupation of Augusta Edit

When British Brigadier General Augustine Prevost arrived from Saint Augustine in mid-January, he assumed command of the garrison there and sent a force under Campbell to take control of Augusta and raise Loyalist forces. [6]

Leaving Savannah on January 24, Campbell and more than 1,000 men arrived near Augusta a week later, with only minimal harassment from Georgia Patriot militia on the way. Augusta had been defended by South Carolina General Andrew Williamson leading about 1,000 militia from Georgia and South Carolina, but he withdrew most of his men when Campbell approached. His rear guard briefly skirmished with Campbell's men before it withdrew across the Savannah River into South Carolina. [7]

Campbell started recruiting Loyalists. By February 10, 1779, about 1,100 men signed up, but relatively few actually formed militia companies, forming only 20 companies of the British Army. Campbell then began requiring oaths of loyalty, on pain of forfeiture of property many took the oath insincerely and quickly let Williamson know their true feelings. Early in his march, Campbell dispatched Major John Hamilton to recruit Loyalists in Wilkes County and Lt. Colonel John Boyd on an expedition to raise Loyalists in the backcountry of North and South Carolina. Boyd met with success and recruited several hundred men. As he traveled south back toward Augusta, more Loyalists joined his company until it numbered over 600 men in central South Carolina. [8] As this column moved on, the men plundered and pillaged along the way, predictably drawing angered Patriots to take up arms. [9]

American response Edit

The Continental Army commander in the South, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, based in Charleston, South Carolina, had been unable to respond adequately to the capture of Savannah. With only limited resources (he was short of both men and funds), he was able to raise about 1,400 South Carolina militia, but did not have authorization to order them outside the state. [10] On January 30, he was further reinforced at Charleston by the arrival of 1,100 North Carolina militia under General John Ashe. Then he immediately dispatched them to join Williamson on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River near Augusta. [11]

The Georgia banks of the Savannah in the Augusta area were controlled by a Loyalist force led by Colonel Daniel McGirth, while the South Carolina banks were controlled by a Georgia Patriot militia led by Colonel John Dooly. [12] When about 250 South Carolina militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens arrived, Pickens and Dooly joined forces to conduct offensive operations into Georgia, with Pickens taking overall command. [13] They were at some point joined by a few companies of North Carolina light horse militia. [14]

On February 10, Pickens and Dooly crossed the Savannah River to attack a British Army camp southeast of Augusta. Finding the camp unoccupied, they learned that the company was out on an extended patrol. Suspecting they would head for a stockaded frontier post called Carr's Fort, Pickens sent men directly there while the main body chased after the British. [13] The British made it into the fort, but were forced to abandon their horses and baggage outside its walls. [15] Pickens then besieged the fort until he learned that Boyd was passing through the Ninety Six district of South Carolina with seven to eight hundred Loyalists, headed for Georgia. He reluctantly raised the siege and moved to intercept Boyd. [15] [16]

Pickens established a strong presence near the mouth of the Broad River, where he expected Boyd might try to cross. However, Boyd, his force grown by then to 800 men, chose to go to the north. He first tried Cherokee Ford, the southernmost fording of the Savannah River, where he was met with some resistance known as the Engagement at McGowen's Blockhouse. The encounter consisted of a detachment of eight Patriots commanded by Capt. Robert Anderson with two small swivel guns in an entrenched position, who thwarted Boyd's approach to Cherokee Ford. Boyd moved north upstream about 5 miles (8.0 km) and crossed the Savannah River there, skirmishing with a small Patriot force that had shadowed his movements on the Georgia side. [9] [17] Boyd reported losing 100 men, killed, wounded, or deserted, in the encounter. [18]

By the time Pickens learned that Boyd had crossed the river, he had himself crossed into South Carolina in an attempt to intercept Boyd. He immediately recrossed into Georgia upon learning of Boyd's whereabouts. On February 14, Pickens caught up with Boyd when he paused to rest his troops near Kettle Creek, [9] only a few miles from Colonel McGirth's Loyalist camp. [19]

Boyd was apparently unaware that he was being followed so closely, and his camp, even though guards were posted, was not particularly alert. Pickens advanced, leading the center, with his right flank under Colonel Dooly and his left under Georgia Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke. Gunfire between Patriot scouts and the camp guards alerted Boyd to the situation. Boyd formed a defensive line near the camp's rear and advanced with a force of 100 men to oppose Pickens at a crude breastwork made of fencing and fallen trees. Pickens, whose advance gave him the advantage of high ground, was able to flank this position, even though his own wings were slowed by the swampy conditions near the creek. In heavy fighting, Boyd went down with a mortal wound, and the small company retreated to the main Loyalist line. [17]

The Patriot flanks then began to emerge from the swamps. The Loyalists, led by Boyd's second in command, Major William Spurgen, engaged the Patriots in battle for 90 minutes. Some of the Loyalists crossed the creek, abandoning horses and equipment. Clarke alertly noticed some high ground across the Kettle Creek that they seemed to be heading for and led some of his men there, having his horse shot from under him in the process. The Loyalist line was eventually broken, and its men were killed, captured, or dispersed. [21]

Treatment of prisoners Edit

Pickens took 75 prisoners, including most of the wounded, and between 40 and 70 Loyalists were killed. He suffered 7 to 9 killed and 14–23 wounded or missing in the battle. [3] Many of Boyd's men (including some that escaped the battlefield and others that Pickens paroled) returned home. A significant number were either captured or surrendered themselves to Patriot authorities in the days following the battle, and the fate of some of his men is unknown. [22] Lieutenant Colonel Campbell reported that 270 of Boyd's recruits eventually joined him. [19] He organized them into the Royal North Carolina Regiment. [22]

When Pickens approached the mortally wounded Boyd after the battle, the Loyalist leader, who had lived in South Carolina before the war and was known to Pickens, asked the Patriot leader to deliver a brooch to his wife and inform her of his fate. This Pickens eventually did. [18]

Of the Loyalist prisoners, only about 20 survived their wounds. Pickens first took them to Augusta, and then Ninety Six, where they were held along with a large number of other Loyalists. Seeking to make an example of them, South Carolina authorities put a number of these Loyalists on trial for treason. About 50 of them were convicted, and five men, including some of the men captured at Kettle Creek, were hanged. British military leaders were outraged over this treatment of what they considered prisoners of war, even before the trial was held. General Prevost threatened retaliation against Patriot prisoners he was holding, but did not act out of fear that other American-held British prisoners might be mistreated. His invasion of coastal South Carolina in April 1779, a counter-thrust against movements by General Lincoln to recover Georgia, prompted South Carolina officials to vacate most of the convictions. [23]

British reaction Edit

In a council held in Augusta on February 12, Campbell decided to abandon Augusta and began the withdrawal to Savannah on February 14 at 2AM, the morning of the battle. [24] [25] Contrary to opinions expressed by some historians, Campbell did not leave because of the battle's outcome. He did not learn of the battle until after he had already left Augusta his departure was prompted by the arrival of 1,200 of patriot General John Ashe's forces in General Andrew Williamson's camp across the Savannah River, a shortage of provisions, and uncertainty over whether Boyd would be successful in his mission. [19] [24] The success of Kettle Creek was undone to some extent by the subsequent British victory at the March 3 Battle of Brier Creek, which took place during Campbell's retreat in present-day Screven County. [26]

Augusta was later recaptured by the British in June 1780 after Patriot forces collapsed in the aftermath of the Siege of Charleston. It was retaken by siege by Patriot forces on June 5, 1781. [27]

The Kettle Creek Battlefield has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [28] Most of the battlefield is owned by Wilkes County, and in 2008, an archeological survey conducted by Daniel Elliot of the Lamar Institute identified the original location of the place where the fight occurred. [29] [30] [31] It is located off Tyrone Road in Wilkes County. [32] In 2013, 60 acres of the battlefield area was purchased by the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association using donations from individuals and other heritage organization. [33] [34] [29] Then, in 2018, the American Battlefield Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 180 acres at the battlefield. [35]

The Kettle Creek Battlefield was awarded an "affiliated area" status of the National Park Service (NPS) in January 2021. [4]


Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek

A Patriot militia force of 340 led by Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina with Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia defeats a larger force of 700 Loyalist militia commanded by Colonel James Boyd on this day in 1779 at Kettle Creek, Georgia.

The Patriots attempted a two-pronged attack. Pickens' line engaged the Loyalists, while Dooly and Clarke's men attempted to cross the creek and surrounding swamp. Dooly and Clarke's troops were soon bogged down in the difficult crossing and though Boyd had sent 150 of his men out to forage for food that morning, the Loyalists still had the upper hand.

The tide turned when the Loyalists saw their commander, Boyd, collapse from a musket wound. Panicked, they disintegrated into a disorderly retreat towards the creek as Pickens' Patriots fired down upon their camp from above. Shortly thereafter, the two South Carolina commanders, Dooly and Clarke, emerged with their men from the swamp and surrounded the shocked Loyalists, who were attempting to retreat across the creek.

By the end of the action, the Loyalists suffered 70 killed and another 70 captured, compared to 9 killed and 23 wounded for the Patriots. Colonel Boyd, who was wounded during the engagement, died shortly afterward. The victory was the only significant Patriot victory in Georgia and delayed the consolidation of British control in the largely Loyalist colony.

In 1780, Colonel John Dooly was murdered at his log cabin home on his Georgia plantation by South Carolina Loyalists. Dooly County, Georgia, was named in his honor, and the spring near his former cabin in Lincoln County, Georgia, within the grounds of the Elijah Clarke State Park—named for his former Patriot partner—bears a historic marker in the martyred patriot's memory.


What was the outcome of the Battle of Kettle Creek during the Revolutionary War?

Click to read in-depth answer. Similarly, what was the most important result of the Battle of Kettle Creek?

The Battle of Kettle Creek was fought during the American Revolution on this day in 1779. It was a small victory, but it was significant, and provided a morale boost for the American cause, after Savannah had fallen two months earlier.

Likewise, when did the Battle of Kettle Creek end? February 14, 1779

Beside above, who won in the Battle of Kettle Creek?

A Patriot militia force of 340 led by Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina with Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia defeats a larger force of 700 Loyalist militia commanded by Colonel James Boyd on this day in 1779 at Kettle Creek, Georgia.

What was the most significant outcome of the siege of Savannah during the Revolutionary War?

It was the deadliest battle of the war. It restored control of the city to Great Britain. The Patriots defeated the British and ended the war. It was the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Georgia.


Watch the video: Battle of Kettle Creek