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British Enter Savannah

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

December 30.—Early yesterday morning the British, under the cover of several armed vessels, landed at Brewton’s plantation, about a mile from Savannah. The Continental troops were drawn up on an eminence about half a mile from the town, near Tatnal’s gate, their right extending to the swamp and river, their left across the road; and a morass, crossed by the road, in their front. The morass was thought impracticable for near two or three miles up. The militia were near the barracks, meant to cover the right of the regulars; their whole force scarcely amounting to five hundred men.

The British, under feint of attacking us by the main road, filed off to the left, and found means to cross the morass, about a quarter of a mile above our right; this, as soon as it was known, obliged our regulars to retreat, which was effected at the same time that the militia were attacked, and obliged to retire through the town. Our troops sustained a very hot fire on their retreat between the town and barracks; but by that means gained the road which leads out by the spring house; while the only alternative left the militia was to surrender or swim McGilvray’s Creek. Those who could not swim were made prisoners, among whom were Colonel Walton of the militia (wounded in the action) and Major Habersham of the Georgia regulars. Colonels Elbert and Harris saved themselves by swimming.

At present our loss cannot be ascertained; and I am inclined to think it not near so considerable as many apprehend.

Colonel Roberts, with four pieces of artillery, was posted near the Continental troops, and made good his retreat, with the loss of one of his pieces. All accounts agree that the Georgians are the most considerable sufferers.1


1 New Jersey Gazette, February 10, 1779