PATRIOTS DEFEAT LOYALISTS AT
KETTLE CREEK

   
   
FEBRUARY 14TH, 1779
   

 



February 14, 1779: Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek

On This Day...


February 14, 1779, 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.

Click here for more information on The Battle of Kettle Creek.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Battle of Kettle Creek


Febuary 14, 1779 at Kettle Creek, Georgia


American Forces Commanded by
Col. Andrew Pickens

British Forces Commanded by
Col. James Boyd


Conclusion: American Victory
Southern theater, 1775-83

The backwoods of Georgia held many challenges for the British Army. Many of the people in Georgia were strongly anti-British.

On February 11, 100 Patriots attack them while crossing Van(n)'s Creek in spite of being outnumbered by the British force..

On February 14, when Col. James Boyd and 700 British loyalists set up camp along Kettle Creek, they knew to be prepared for an attack. Things were not going well for the Loyalists. Boyd is expecting additional men to assist in a strike against the Patriots. His men are not regulars and dissention fills the ranks. And the skirmish at Vann's Creek alert Cols. John Dooly and Andrew Pickens to the Loyalist's presence in Wilkes County. As was the custom, the Loyalist send scavengers out to find food.

That morning, about 150 men were out searching for food when Pickens attacked. With a combined total of 340 men, the Patriots attacked in 3 columns, Col. Dooly on the right, Pickens in the middle, and Lt. Col. Elijah Clark, Dooly's second in command, on the left. A small advance guard was sent in front of the columns to scout the British. Col. Pickens scouts were surprised by Boyd's Loyalist sentries and opened fire.

Alerted to the attack by the sound of gunfire, Boyd rallied his men and advanced with a small group to the top of a nearby hill, where they waited behind rocks and fallen trees for the Patriots. To the left and right, the men under command of Dooly and Clarke had problems crossing the high water of the creek and nearby swamps.

Pickens continued his advance to the fence on top of the hill, where Boyd's men awaited the advancing Americans. On the approach of Pickens, the Loyalists opened fire. Men at the lead of the column fell victim to the first rounds. Clarke and Dooly, unable to advance quickly through the cane, were helpless. By all accounts, outnumbered and caught by surprise, the Patriots were losing the battle.


After the successful ambush, Boyd ordered his men to retreat to the camp by Kettle Creek. In one of those events frequently labeled as fate, Boyd fell to the ground, dying from a musket ball. Seeing this, his troops panicked and an orderly withdrawal turned into a nightmare for the 600 men under his command.

Pickens rallied and advanced his men towards the Loyalist camp. At the same time, Dooly's men emerged from the swamp. Surrounded on 3 fronts, with the creek to their back, about 450 Tories followed Boyd's second in command, Maj. Spurgen, across Kettle Creek. While they were crossing the creek, Clarke emerged on the other side and charged with 50 men. The Loyalists fled, soundly defeated.

The men who fled the battlefield eventually made their way back to Wrightsville, although some were captured and hung later that year. Pickens, who became famous for his many battles in the Revolutionary War, would later write that Kettle Creek was the "severest chastisement" for the Loyalists in South Carolina and Georgia. Dooly was later brutally murdered by British Regulars.

 

NARRATIVE FOR KETTLE CREEK BATTLEFIELD MARKER


This marker was erected in 1979 at the observance of the 200th anniversary of the Battle Of Kettle Creek. It was a joint effort by the Washington - Wilkes Historical Foundation, Dr. Turner Bryson, President, and The Kettle Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mrs. John Singleton, Regent. The assistance of State Senator Sam P. McGill, and A. K. Johnson, Director of the Georgia Commission for the National Bi-centennial Celebration is gratefully acknowledged.


THE PATRIOTS WHOES NAMES APPEAR ON THIS MARKER ARE THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN PROVED TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE BATTLE OF KETTLE CREEK ON FEBRUARY 14, 1779.

WILKES COUNTY REGIMENTS,
GEORGIA MILITIA.
(140 MEN)

Col. John Dooly, Comdr.
Lt. Col. Elijah Clark
Major Burwell Smith
Capt. Alexander Autry
Capt. John Cunningham
Capt William Freeman
Capt. Daniel Gunnells
Capt. James Little
Capt. Joseph Nail, Sr.
Lt. William Black
Ensign Jospeh Nail, Jr.
Micajah Brooks
Isham Burke
Owen Fluker
Charle Gent
Jesse Gordon
William Hammett
James Hays
Jesse Hooper
David Madden
Benijah Noridyke
Archibald Simpson
Peter Strozier
Benjamin Thompson
David H. Thurmond
John Webb
Micajah Williamson
Nathan Smith

 

UPPER NINETY-SIX REGIMENT,
SOUTH CAROLINA MILITIA. (200 MEN)

Col. Andrew Pickens, Comdr.
Capt. Andrew Hamilton
Capt. Robert Anderson
Capt. James McCall
Capt. Joseph Pickens
Capt. Thomas Weems
Capt. Levi Casy
Lt. Joseph Calhoun
Lt. Alexander Ramsey
Lt. Samuel Roseman
Lt. Thomas Shanklin
Lt. Joseph Wardlaw
Thomas Langdon, MD
William Anderson
John Bird
Willis Breazeal
William Buchanon
Patrick Cain
Francis Carlisle
William Carruthers
Thomas Cofer
Edward Doyle
Thomas Hamilton
John Harris
William Hutton
Andrew Liddle
John Loard
James Luckie
William Luckie, Jr.
John McAdams
John McAlphin
Joseph McClusky
Elijah Moore
Samuel Moore
Alexander Patterson
Richard Posey
Samuel Reed
William Speer
John Trimble
William Turk

 

FROM THE AUDITOR GENERAL ACCOUNT BOOK, 1778 - 1780,

William Adams
Alexander Aaron
Robert Anderson
William Baskins
John Beard
David Beard
Robert Bell
John Bole
John Buchanan
William Brown
Willis Breazeale
James Cane
John Calhoun
James Caldwell
James Calvert
William Carothers
Samuel Carson
Daniel Carmichael
Alexander Chevas
Thomas Cofer
Cosby
Capt. John Cowan
Thomas Coyle
George Crawford
George Deardon

 

RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE MEMORIAL MARKER

John Thompson
William Thompson
William Downs
Samuel Whatley,Private
Nathan Barnett
David Hollomon
Austin Webb
Edmund Butler
Absolom Davis
John Milner
John Barnett

 



 

     

     
     

Go to the Site Map

     
     

     
         
   


Thanks for Viewing the SARSAT.ORG Website.
Please Return Soon.
 

   
         
           
   

Webmaster:

Max Strozier

   
           
   

Web Page Created:

14 February 2009

   
   

Web Page Updated:

19 February 2011