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Colonel Twiggs’ Expedient

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

During the siege of Charleston, parties were frequently sent down to beat up the British quarters about Savannah, with a view to distress the enemy, and to draw troops from the siege. Colonel Twiggs, with his men, united with a party of South Carolina militia, under the command of Colonel Pickens, a very gallant, good officer, went down with respectable force, and drove the enemy within their redoubts. They took post upon Ogeechee, the latter at Butler’s plantations, two miles from the ferry; and the former on Governor Wright’s, lying upon the river. A party of one hundred men, drawn chiefly from the corps of York volunteers, and a Hessian regiment, was sent out of Savannah to attack them, under the command of Captain Conklin, of Cruger’s battalion. Colonel Twiggs’ post being nearest the enemy, of course had first to engage. Conklin planned the attack in the usual way of the British, in front and flank, which would appear the more distressing as the colonel had but thirty-two men with him. He detached Captain Innman with eight men, to check the detour on his left, under Lieutenant Supple, with fifteen men, while he himself, with the remainder, opposed the enemy’s main body under Captain Conklin. The colonel’s men are celebrated for sure shots; and being so much inferior in numbers, and Colonel Pickens too far distant to succor him in time, he had recourse to an expedient which, in such cases, is certainly justifiable. He ordered some of his best marksmen to rush up and single out the officers, which was executed in a moment. Captain Conklin fell by a mortal wound, as did his lower officers; and the men being without an officer, save a corporal, were soon routed; eleven were killed, and more wounded. Captain Innman, on the left, was not less successful. He met Supple with half his number, threw himself into a barn he was obliged to pass, killed six of his men, wounded him, and obliged him to retire. The colonel and captain then uniting, pushed after the enemy, and took several prisoners; but having boats ready, they crossed the river, and made good their retreat to Savannah, where all the officers of the party have since died of their wounds. Colonel Twiggs, upon this occasion, had but one man wounded, who is since well.

It is by such exertions that Georgia has hitherto maintained her independence. And if these actions are not great, they are at least brilliant. Nor can we fear that men of such gallantry and good conduct will ever be destroyed by a few cowardly Tories.1


1 Pennsylvania Packet, August 1.