The Battle of Bloody Marsh
St. Simons Island, Georgia
The Battle of Bloody Marsh took place on 7 July 1742. General Oglethorpe's
English, Scottish Highlander, and Indian forces numbered around 650 men. Spanish
Governor Montiano's invasion forces numbered 52 ships and over 2000 men.
Realizing he was greatly outnumbered with no prospect of being reinforced
from the Carolina Colony, Oglethorpe planned an ambush of the Spanish troops
along the Military road from Fort St. Simons to Fort Frederica at a point
where the road crossed the marsh. At this location, Oglethorpe posted
a company of English regulars, H.M. 42nd Regiment of Foot, under Capt. Raymond
Demere (numbering about 60 men), on the left side of the road, forming the
Left flank. He then posted three platoons of Highlanders, The Darien Highland
Independent Company, under Lt Charles MacKay; and a platoon of Highland Rangers
and their Indian allies (numbering about 60 men) on the right side of the
road, forming the Right Flank.
Captain Don Antonio Barba and three companys of Spanish Grenadiers (numbering
about 200 men) set out for Fort Frederica. As Barba's troops approached the
"bottle neck" in the marsh road, Lt. MacKay raised the tam on his sword as
the signal for the battle to begin.
The Highlanders and English troops cut-down Barba and his men as they attempted
to traverse a marshy section of the Military road. At one point in the battle,
three entire platoons of English troops, fearing they were outnumbered, retreated,
leaving the left flank to Lt. Patrick Sutherland and one platoon of regulars;
and the remainder of the field in the hands of one company of now overwhelmingly
outnumbered Highlanders and their Indian allies.
The battle lasted less than an hour, at which point Capt Barba, his troops
out of ammunition and himself mortally wounded, directed his troops in an
orderly retreat to Fort St.Simons. The battle gave Gov. Montiano pause to
reconsider his attack.
Three days later, he withdrew his forces to St. Augustine, Florida. The
tenacity of the Highlanders settled forever the question of Spanish and British
claim to "The Disputed" Georgia lands.