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Incursion into Georgia

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

November 25.— A correspondent in Charleston, South Carolina, says:—”A body of armed men, supposed to be about five hundred, chiefly on horseback, with four pieces of artillery, from St. Augustine, in Florida, have made a very sudden and rapid incursion overland, by way of the Alatamaha, into the neighboring State of Georgia, burning all the houses, and destroying every thing in their way. It does not appear that they were discovered before last Friday, yet by Sunday they had advanced to within four miles of Sunbury, and burnt every house on the other side of Newport ferry, but not without receiving some check from a body of militia collected under Colonel Screven, together with the continentals of the third and fourth battalions, who had retreated in order to receive reinforcements, to Midway meeting-house, where they were intrenching to make a stand, but having disputed every inch of ground against a superior enemy, they lost a few men, and had some of their most valuable officers wounded.1 We since learn that the militia have every where turned out with the greatest alacrity, and that such vigorous measures are pursuing as, with the co-operation of South Carolina, will probably not only disappoint the designs of the enemy, but also cut off their retreat. The opinion of some is, that this expedition has been contrived by Governor Tonyn on purpose to pacify or get rid of the clamorous Tories and horse thieves which he has, by intimidating suggestions and lavish promises, for years past, drawn from South Carolina, and other States, to strengthen the province under his government.2


1 Colonel Screven, who in the first skirmish was inhumanly shot on the ground, having before surrendered and sued for quarter, has since died of the wounds he received from his savage murderers. The character of this gentleman, as a firm patriot, a gallant officer, a truly worthy member of the community wherein he lived; and in private life that of an affectionate husband, a kind and indulgent parent, and steadfast friend, must render his loss deservedly and universally regretted. In fine, he lived the worthy citizen, and fought and died the brave and gallant champion in his country’s cause.—Quis desiderio sit modus tam cari capitis.—Pennsylvania Packet, January 28, 1779.

2 Rivington’s Gazette, January 20, 1779.