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.
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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.
COUNTY REGIMENTS,GEORGIA MILITIA.(140 MEN)
Col. John Dooly,
Comdr.Lt. Col. Elijah Clark
Major Burwell Smith
Capt. John Cunningham
Capt William Freeman
Capt. Daniel Gunnells
Capt. James Little
Capt. Joseph Nail, Sr.
Lt. William Black
Jospeh Nail, Jr.
Peter Strozier Benjamin
David H. Thurmond
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. Joseph Wardlaw
Thomas Langdon, MD
William Luckie, Jr.
THE AUDITOR GENERAL ACCOUNT BOOK, 1778 - 1780,William AdamsAlexander Aaron
Capt. John Cowan
ADDITIONS TO THE MEMORIAL MARKERJohn