In South Carolina Continental General Benjamin Lincoln put together a small force of locals to fight the British. On May 18, 1779, the American government ordered General Laclan McIntosh back to Georgia to assist Lincoln. McIntosh, commander of Fort Pitt at the time, had served in a number of positions after leaving Georgia as a result of Button Gwinnett's death during a duel. In the summer of 1779 they contacted French Admiral Valerie D'estaing, sailing in the French West Indies. Together they decided to attack Savannah.
In early September D'estaing put in at the mouth of the Savannah River with 20 ships and 11 frigates. His troops land without opposition and probably could have walked into Savannah unopposed. Instead, D'estaing sends a demand for surrender to Prevost in the city. Prevost responded by quickening the pace at which he was strengthening the enforcements around the city.
On October 9, 1779, the combined forces of Lincoln and D'estaing launched a heavy artillery bombardment while French and American infantry attack the city. Leading the men, along with Lincoln, McIntosh and D'estaing is Polish Count Casimir Pulaski. During the attack both D'estaing and Pulaski were shot. While the French Admiral's wound was less serious, Polaski's is fatal. He is moved to the American ship the Wasp, where he dies. Prevost's men hold the line and as the attack is repelled the British troops advance on the retreating American army. From an initial force of 5000 men, by the end of the day over 800 French and American soldiers lay dead. Among the people who fought in this battle are Samuel Davis, father of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Major Pierce Charles L'Enfant, future architect of Washington.