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American Revolution
In Coastal Georgia



Georgia County Map

 The American Revolution greatly affected the hearts and minds of Georgians who sought to memorialize the Patriots by naming counties for numerous figures evocative of these historic times. Similar to Georgia’s uneven performance during the war, the Patriots demonstrated strengths and shortcomings; achieved some victories but experienced many more defeats. The Georgia Patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes until more powerful support could come to their assistance to remove the British from Georgia.

           On February 5, 1777, the Constitution of Georgia created eight counties from the colonial parishes and named seven for British champions of America — Georgia’s first acknowledged Patriots. The other original county, Liberty, honors American Independence. In the years following the Revolutionary War, Georgia legislators named 56 additional counties for Patriots — exemplars of Georgia’s efforts during the American Revolution. In addition, at least 30 Georgia towns honor the names of Patriots and two recognize important battles — Lexington and Cowpens.

 With this rich inheritance, we demonstrate honor for the named Patriots, as well as the many other men and women who fought and supported the American Revolution. Although several served Georgia as governor and other elected positions and fought to sustain America’s independence after the war, the following brief sketches focus only on their actions and sacrifices during the American Revolution, with emphasis on the battles in Georgia. We encourage all Georgians to learn more about these and other Patriots of the American Revolution while celebrating Patriots Day on the 19th of April.


Original Counties Created During the American Revolution 1775-1783

 BURKE County honors Edmund Burke, who took a leading role in the debate over constitutional limits to the executive authority of the King. He frequently expressed support for grievances of the American colonists in the House of Commons.

CAMDEN County honors Charles Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden. Dismissed as Lord Chancellor because of his denunciation of the government’s policy toward the American colonists, he continued to oppose taxes imposed on the colonists.

 CHATHAM County honors William, Lord Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. The House of Lords rejected his bill for reconciliation with the colonies. After the war broke out, he warned that Britain could not conquer America.

 EFFINGHAM County honors Thomas Howard, Lord Effingham, 3rd Earl of Effingham. He resigned his military commission as captain rather than fight in America, which he considered incompatible with his obligations of a citizen. 

 GLYNN County honors John Glynn, a lawyer known for his pleading skills. His speeches in Parliament supporting the cause of American Independence received wide notoriety.

 LIBERTY County honors the early zeal for independence of the settlers of St. John’s Parish, dominated by implacable citizens who significantly influenced Revolutionary Georgia. Its citizens elected Dr. Lyman Hall to represent them at the Continental Congress, Georgia’s only representative in 1775.

 RICHMOND County honors Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond, a colonel in the British Army and an ambassador in Paris.  He initiated a debate in the House of Lords calling for the removal of British troops from America.

 WILKES County honors John Wilkes, known for his arguments of freedom of the press. Parliament expelled Wilkes, but he gained re-election and continued to oppose the war with the American colonies.

Additional Counties Named for American Revolution Patriots

 BAKER County honors John Baker, a resident of Midway and lieutenant colonel in the Georgia Continental Line. During the Second Florida Expedition in 1777, the British ambushed and routed Baker’s command at Thomas Creek near the mouth of the Nassau River. Wounded in Liberty County fighting during November 1778, Baker served until the end of the war.

 BALDWIN County honors Abraham Baldwin, a chaplain in the Connecticut Line during the Revolution. He is called “Founder of the University of Georgia” since he prepared the charter and served as president during its planning phase.

 BRYAN County honors Jonathan Bryan, who had fought the Spanish with James Oglethorpe and later served on the Revolutionary Council of Safety and as vice-president of Georgia. The British captured Bryan at Savannah in 1779, and placed him aboard a prison ship in New York for two years until released at the age of 70.

 BULLOCH County honors Archibald Bulloch, a resident of Savannah who served as the first president and commander of the Georgia Militia in 1775. He read and promulgated the Declaration of Independence in Savannah in August 1776. Bulloch convened the Georgia Constitutional Convention, but died in office before the Constitution received approval in 1777.

 CARROLL County honors Charles Carroll of Maryland, a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

CLARKE County honors Elijah Clarke, Georgia’s capable and committed militia commander. Clarke fought in many Georgia battles, including the victory at Kettle Creek in 1779, the siege of Augusta in 1780 and the capture of Augusta in 1781. He also commanded the Wilkes County Militia in seven major battles in South Carolina. Called “Hero of the Hornet’s Nest” due to his prowess in fighting, Clarke received serious wounds at least four times.

DeKALB County honors Johann Kalb, a decorated soldier who had been born in what is now Bavaria. The Continental Congress appointed him a general, and he served with distinction at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Camden. In this last fight he received eleven wounds, and died three days later

DOOLY County honors John Dooly, a Patriot commander at Kettle Creek — one of Georgia’s few Revolutionary War victories. He commanded the Wilkes County Militia during the Franco-American Siege of Savannah in 1779. Vengeful Tories murdered Dooly in his bed while he was on parole in 1780.

ELBERT County honors Samuel Elbert, who commanded the Georgia Continentals in two Florida Expeditions, the Frederica Naval Action and the British capture of Savannah in 1778. After a courageous stand at Brier Creek in 1779, the British captured and held him prisoner in Savannah for two years. Exchanged and captured again at Charleston in 1780; Elbert served at Yorktown in 1781, and made general in the Continental Army.

 EMANUEL County honors David Emanuel, a resident of Burke County. British Loyalists captured him and two other members of the Executive Council in 1781. The Loyalists killed two of them, but Emanuel escaped.

 FAYETTE County honors the Marquis de Lafayette, a native of France. Appointed general by the Continental Congress, he served with distinction at Brandywine, Monmouth and Yorktown.

 FRANKLIN County honors Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, who helped draft and then signed the two most significant documents associated with the American Revolution: Declaration of Independence and Treaty of Paris. He also helped draft the United States Constitution after the war.

GREENE County honors Nathanael Greene, a Rhode Islander who began his service as a private and rose to the rank of major general. As commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army, Greene led a brilliant campaign that ended the British occupation of the South. He stopped Cornwallis at Guilford Court House, which lead to Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown and ultimately caused the British to evacuate Charleston. Greene directed Continental troops to recapture Augusta in 1781 and Savannah in 1782, and to help restore Georgia’s Whig government.

 GWINNETT County honors Button Gwinnett, a resident of Liberty County and one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett exercised significant influence in developing Georgia’s first Constitution. As commander of the militia, he intended to invade British East Florida in 1777, but disputes over command caused recall of both Gwinnett and General Lachlan McIntosh. This struggle led to a duel, which resulted in wounds to both men and Gwinnett died of complications a few days later.

 HABERSHAM County honors Joseph Habersham, a leader of the Liberty Boys in Savannah who broke into the powder magazine in 1775, and seized Sir James Wright, the colonial governor in early 1776. Habersham achieved the rank of colonel in the Continental Line, but the Georgia Constitution required him to resign his Continental commission in order to serve in the General Assembly.

HALL County honors Lyman Hall from Connecticut who became a physician in Liberty County. An early leader for Independence and as one of Georgia’s three representatives to the Continental Congress in 1776, he signed the Declaration of Independence.

 HANCOCK County honors John Hancock, of Massachusetts and president of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777. Hancock became the first Patriot to sign the Declaration of Independence, doing so in large bold letters.

HART County honors Nancy Morgan Hart, who resided with her husband, Benjamin in Wilkes County. She allegedly confronted Tories who had just murdered Colonel John Dooly. They demanded food and during the meal, she captured them and summoned her husband from the fields. Together, they hanged the Tories without benefit of trial or clergy.

HEARD County honors Stephen Heard, who the British captured and imprisoned at Augusta. His faithful slave, Mammy Kate, supposedly hid him in a laundry basket and carried him past the guards. Heard became acting governor, residing at Heard’s Fort near Washington in Wilkes County.  

HENRY County honors Patrick Henry, from Virginia. His speeches became the call to armed resistance from Boston to Charleston, especially in one that he declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  

HOUSTON County honors John Houstoun, governor and commander of the Georgia Militia, who accompanied his troops during the unsuccessful Third Florida Expedition. As governor of Georgia, he failed to organize a realistic defense of Savannah in 1778, resulting in the British capture and re-establishment of Georgia as a British colony.

IRWIN County honors Jared Irwin, a Burke County resident who served during the Revolutionary War.

 JACKSON County honors James Jackson, a resident of Savannah who played a prominent part at Cowpens and the recapture of Augusta in 1781. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson and his Georgia Legion had the honor of being the first unit to enter Savannah upon the British evacuation in 1782, and fought the last Revolutionary battle in Georgia at Delegal’s Plantation on Skidaway Island.

 JASPER County honors William Jasper, a resident of Burke County, Georgia who became a sergeant in the South Carolina Continental Line and displayed great heroism during the British attack at Charleston in 1776. Jasper received a mortal wound while defending the South Carolina standard on the Spring Hill Redoubt parapet at Savannah on October 9, 1779. 

 JEFFERSON County honors Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian and author of the Declaration of Independence, who became the third president of the United States.

 LAURENS County honors John Laurens, from South Carolina and aide-de-camp to General George Washington at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. Commanding a unit of the South Carolina Infantry, Laurens attacked the Spring Hill Redoubt at Savannah in 1779, and succeeded in gaining the parapet where Sergeant William Jasper and many others received their mortal wounds.

 LEE County honors Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. As a member of the Continental Congress, Lee made the motion calling for Independence from Great Britain, and signed the Declaration of Independence.

LINCOLN County honors Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts, major general and commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army. In 1779, Lincoln implemented a campaign to retake Georgia, but the Patriots suffered major defeats at Brier Creek and Savannah. The British captured Lincoln’s command at Charleston in 1780, one of the worst Continental defeats of the war.

MACON County honors Nathaniel Macon, who served as a soldier until elected to the North Carolina Senate during the Revolutionary War. 

MADISON County honors James Madison of Virginia, called “Father of the Constitution” who became the fourth president of the United States. 

MARION County honors Francis Marion of South Carolina, who led his regiment in a gallant assault at Savannah in 1779. Called the “Swamp Fox” because of his successful guerrilla operations, Brigadier General Marion helped Nathanael Greene drive the British from the Carolinas.

 MCINTOSH County honors the McIntosh family of St. Andrews Parish, of which six members served in the Georgia Continental Line. Lachlan McIntosh, appointed colonel in 1776 and defended Savannah during the Battle of the Riceboats, subsequently made brigadier general. Transferred outside Georgia after his duel with Button Gwinnett, he returned to fight at Savannah in 1779, and served until the end of the war.

MERIWETHER County honors David Meriwether of Virginia who fought at Trenton, Princeton and Brandywine. The British captured him at Savannah in 1779, and again at Charleston in 1780.

 MILTON County honored John Milton, a Georgia Continental officer whom the British captured at Fort McIntosh in 1777 and imprisoned at St. Augustine. During the British capture of Savannah in 1778, Milton saved Georgia’s public records by taking them to the Carolinas, and later to Maryland. He returned the records following the re-establishment of Georgia’s government in 1782. Milton County became part of Fulton County in 1931.

MITCHELL County honors Henry Mitchell of Virginia who received serious saber wounds by British Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s Legionnaires while bearing the American standard at Waxhaws, South Carolina. Tarleton retrieved the flag and carried it to England among other captured colors.

 MONROE County honors James Monroe, a lieutenant from Virginia who fought at Harlem Heights, White Plains and Trenton, where he received a shoulder wound. Next, Monroe fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, and later became the fifth president of the United States.

MONTGOMERY County honors Richard Montgomery, a New York resident who had fought in the colonial wars. Appointed major general, he commanded the expedition to Canada in 1775; captured St. Johns and Montreal, but received a mortal wound during the Siege of Quebec. 

MORGAN County honors Daniel Morgan, a New Jersey native who while fighting in the colonial wars earned the nickname, “Old Waggoner.” Captured at Quebec, and after his release, Morgan played a decisive role at Saratoga. Appointed brigadier general, he commanded Continentals and Militia during the textbook battle at Cowpens in 1781, winning a resounding victory over British forces led by Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

NEWTON County honors John Newton, a sergeant from South Carolina who with Sergeant William Jasper rescued a party of Patriot prisoners the British were taking to Savannah.

 PAULDING County honors John Paulding, who participated in the capture of Major John Andre, the British spy who had revealed General Benedict Arnold as a traitor to the American cause for Independence.

PICKENS County honors Andrew Pickens, colonel of the South Carolina Militia, who frequently fought with Georgians. He commanded at the victories at Kettle Creek and Augusta, and became brigadier general for his actions at Cowpens.

 PULASKI County honors Casimir Pulaski; the Polish-born commander of Pulaski’s Legion and considered “Father of the American Cavalry.” Pulaski received a mortal wound while conducting a reconnaissance in search of a breach in the British lines at Savannah in 1779.

 PUTNAM County honors Israel Putnam, a Massachusetts native who had fought in the colonial wars. One of the leaders of the Battle of Bunker Hill, he achieved the rank of major general in the Continental Line.

 SCREVEN County honors James Screven, a resident of Liberty County who fought in the Battle of the Riceboats at Savannah in 1776. Promoted to brigadier general, he commanded the Georgia Militia during the Second Florida Expedition. The British wounded and captured Screven during the fight at Midway, where he died two days later in 1778.

 STEWART County honors Daniel Stewart, a resident of Liberty County who fought under Generals Sumter and Marion in South Carolina. The British captured Stewart near Charleston and kept him in a prison ship in the Charleston Harbor.

SUMTER County honors Thomas Sumter, who had fought in the colonial wars. Called the “Carolina Gamecock” due to his great physical endurance, Sumter became the senior brigadier general of the South Carolina Militia.

 TALIAFERRO County honors Benjamin Taliaferro, from Virginia who while serving under General Washington at Princeton, captured a British officer and his entire command. He joined Lieutenant Colonel “Light-horse Harry” Lee’s Legion with whom he fought at the capture of Augusta in 1781.

 TATTNALL County honors Josiah Tattnall Jr., a Savannah native who joined General Anthony Wayne’s troops at Ebenezer during the campaign to liberate Georgia from British rule in 1782.

TELFAIR County honors Edward Telfair, a Savannah Liberty Boy who joined the break-in of the powder magazine there in 1775. He served on the Council of Safety and in the Continental Congress.

 TREUTLEN County honors John Adam Treutlen, a native of Swabia, which is now part of Germany. A resident of Ebenezer, he defeated Button Gwinnett to become Georgia’s first governor in 1777.  Treutlen traveled to British-occupied Charleston, where he took the oath of loyalty to the Crown in 1781. A Loyalist detachment murdered Treutlen in March of 1782.

TWIGGS County honors John Twiggs, a resident of Burke County who fought at the Burke County Gaol (Jail) in 1779, with Colonel Benjamin Few and Lieutenant Colonel James Ingram. Twiggs fought in General Sumter’s command in South Carolina and became brigadier general.

 WALTON County honors George Walton, secretary of Georgia’s first Provincial Congress, president of the Council of Safety in 1775, and one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. A colonel in the militia, the British wounded and captured him at Savannah, and held him prisoner at Sunbury until exchanged.

 WARREN County honors Joseph Warren, a physician and leader in the Sons of Liberty in Boston. Elected major general of the militia, he received a mortal wound at the Battle of Bunker Hill. 

 WASHINGTON County, the first county created in Georgia following the Revolutionary War. It is the first county in America named to honor General George Washington, commanding general during the Revolutionary War and later first president of the United States. 

 WAYNE County honors Anthony Wayne from Pennsylvania. In January 1782, Nathanael Greene ordered Brigadier General Wayne to restore Patriot authority and conduct a war of attrition against the British defenders of Savannah. From his headquarters at Ebenezer, Wayne drove the British outposts into Savannah, cut-off their supplies and defeated relief attempts until the British evacuation in July 1782.

 WILKINSON County honors James Wilkinson, a native of Maryland and general who served on the staffs of Generals Nathanael Greene, Benedict Arnold and Horatio Gates. Wilkinson resigned due to irregularities in his accounts and controversial service.