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Problems in East Florida
About North Georgia

One of the major concerns to the new state of Georgia was the British presence to the south and their influence on both the Creek (to the south and southwest) and the Cherokee (to the northwest). In East Florida, a band of Loyalists known as the Florida Rangers made themselves a name by working with American Indians to keep southern Georgians in a state of alarm. According to Noble Jones, "Pillage, conflagration and murder mark their footsteps." Former Royal Governor James Wright's brother Germyn built a fort on Saint Mary's River as a meeting point for these men. The state sent organized troops to deal with the threat of the British in East Florida on three occasions.

The First Florida Expedition left in August, 1776, shortly after word of the signing of the Declaration of Independence reached the Georgia. Although eventually called off in October of that year, this expedition built a line of forts between Florida and Georgia including Fort Howe, Fort McIntosh and additional forts at Darien and Beard's Bluff. Indians attacked a detachment of men while on the way to Beard's Bluff. Then John Baker, Commander of the Georgia forces, was betrayed by two guards who stole the expedition's horses and left the Americans unprotected in the swamps of south Georgia. One of these guards, Daniel McGirth, will become "noted" for a career of rape and murder.

During the First Florida Expedition, Georgia's Whig government began to factionalize. Conservatives, known as town Whigs, were led by Lachlan McIntosh and his brother George. Radicals, known as country Whigs were led by Button Gwinnett. When the Second Florida Expedition left for Florida in mid-April, 1777 it selected Lachlan McIntosh to be its leader. Although the selection makes perfect sense, since McIntosh is a highly trained soldier, it sets in motion a series of events that eventually lead to the death of Button Gwinnett. Colonel Samuel Elbert commanded the force when it moves south from Sunbury. Word of Gwinnett and McIntosh's ongoing feud reached Savannah and they were ordered to return. When the expedition returned in late May Gwinnett was dead from gangrene, the result of bullet wound during a duel with McIntosh.

In April, 1778 a group of 500 Tories moved through South Carolina and Georgia, destroying property and killing Americans. Planning of the Third Florida Expedition began when definite word of a invasion from the Florida stronghold reached Georgia. Colonel Elbert moved towards the Florida-Georgia border on April 6, 1778, shortly capturing the British vessels the Hinchinbrooke and Rebecca, which may have been supporting the Loyalist movement south.

This expedition had no lack of leaders, among them Robert Howe, Governor John Houstoun, Colonel Andrew Williamson and Commodore Oliver Bowen, each of whom, essentially, refused to take orders from the others. When the Florida Rangers retreated as the expedition approached, Howe and Bowen turned back, and Houstoun and Williamson were forced to follow because they did not have enough men to take on the Rangers by themselves.

Next: British take Savannah and Augusta

Introduction to the American Revolution in Georgia
Acts of War
End of the French and Indian War
Sugar Act; Stamp Act
Liberty Boys; Virginia Resolves
Radical Georgia Unites
Tea Act and Tea Party
Movement towards Independence
Battle of the Rice Boats
On to Independence
Declaration of Independence
Problems in East Florida
British Take Savannah and Augusta
Battle of Kettle Creek
Battle of Brier Creek
Battle of Savannah
Dark days for Georgia
End of the Revolution
Chronology of Georgia events


American Revolution In Georgia
Georgia's role in the American Revolution

Article Links
Acts of War
Battle of Brier Creek
Battle of Kettle Creek
Battle of Savannah
Battle of the Rice Boats
British Take Savannah and Augusta
British take Savannah and Augusta
Button Gwinnett
Dark days for Georgia
Declaration of Independence
End of the French and Indian War
End of the Revolution
Introduction to the American Revolution in Georgia
Liberty Boys; Virginia Resolves
Movement towards Independence
On to Independence
Problems in East Florida
Radical Georgia Unites
Sugar Act; Stamp Act
Tea Act and Tea Party

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