Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

Tuesday, 06-Apr-2004 09:27:52 MDT GAGenWeb Page

Georgia Revolutionary War

Col. Samuel Elbert's letter

In a letter published a few days later in the Charlestown newspaper, Col. Samuel Elbert's letter relays news of how his troops recaptured St. Simons and three of his gallies captured three British men-of-war, a decisive victory for the Georgia Revolutionists. April 14-19, 1778 Georgia Historical records show that Elbert reached Fort Howe on the Altamaha on April 14. Learning that three British vessels were anchored off Fort Frederica, which was under enemy control, he took three hundred men by boat and landed them near Frederica. Elbert wrote Continental Commander General Robert Howe of the results of the invasion in a letter. The following copy is from the Charlestown's newspaper, South Carolina and American General Gazette—of April 23:

April 14-19, 1778
Elbert reaches Fort Howe on the Altamaha on April 14. Learning that three British vessels are anchored off Fort Frederica, which is under enemy control, he takes three hundred men by boat and lands them near Frederica. Elbert writes Continental Commander General Robert Howe of the results of the invasion in a letter.

The following copy is from the Charlestown's newspaper, now under a new name—South Carolina and American General Gazette—of April 23. The town's name also is changed, now being one word:

C H A R L E S T O W N, April 23, 1778
This forenoon an express arrived here from Savannah, by the whom the following advices were received.

Copy of a Letter from Col. Elbert to Major General Howe, at Savannah.

Dear General, Frederica, April 19, 1778

I have the happiness to inform you that about 10 o'clock this forenoon, the Brigantine Hinchinbrooke, the Sloop Rebecca, and a prize brig, all struck the British Tyrant's colors and surrendered to the American arms. Having received intelligence that the above vessels were at this place, I put about three hundred men, by detachment from the troops under my command at Fort Howe, on board the three gallies—the Washington, Capt. Hardy; the Lee, Capt Braddock; and the Bulloch, Capt. Hatcher; and a detachment of artillery with a field piece, under Capt. Young, I put on board a boat. With this little army, we embarked at Darien, and last evening effected a landing at a bluff about a mile below the town; leaving Col. White on board the Lee, Capt. Melvin on board the Washington, and Lieut. Petty on board the Bulloch, each with a sufficient party of troops.

Immediately on Landing, I dispatched Lieut. Col. Ray and Major Roberts, with about 100 men, who marched directly up to the town, and made prisoners three marines and two sailors belonging to the Hinchinbrooke. It being late, the gallies did not engage until this morning.

You must imagine what my feelings were, to see our three little men of war going to the attack of these three vessels, who have spread terror on our coast, and who were drawn up in order of battle; but the weight of our metal soon damped the courage of these heroes, who soon took to their boats; and, as many as could, abandoned the vessels with everything on board, of which we immediately took possession.

What is extraordinary, we have not one man hurt. Capt. Ellis [ of the Hinchinbrooke] is drowned, and Capt. Mowbry [of the Rebecca] made his escape. As soon as I see Col. White, who has not yet come to us with his prizes, I shall consult with him, the other three officers, and the commanding officers of the galleys, on the expediency of attacking the Galatea now lying off Jekyll. I send you this by Brigade Major Habersham, who will inform you of the other particulars. I am. &c.
SAMUEL ELBERT, Col. Commandant

It is no wonder Elbert was ecstatic. Two years earlier the Hinchinbrooke (spelled without the e in some references), in company with the 20-gun Scarborough and another vessel, had sailed boldly up the Savannah River and, under heavy rifle fire from the Americans, made off with several vessels laden with rice. Her capture certanly proved to be a morale booster to supporters of the Revolution in the South, who were struggling to turn the tide of war in their favor.

Contributed by: J. G. (Jerry) Braddock Sr. Charleston, SC. Author of Wooden Ships - Iron Men .



Return to TAYLOR COUNTY HomePage