Term of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of History

Committee Chair

Solomon K. Smith

Committee Member 1

William Allison

Committee Member 2

Jonathan Bryant

Abstract

The Battle of Brier Creek on March 3, 1779 has been overlooked for many years by historians of the American War of Independence in Georgia. Because it was so brief and did not include massive field armies, the importance of the battle has been ignored. This is unfortunate as the Battle of Brier Creek had many severe consequences and changed the direction of the war in Georgia. The loss of men, arms, and equipment derailed Patriot offensive plans and gave the British valuable time to secure their position in the small frontier colony. It allowed them to establish civil government in Georgia while the Patriots were reeling from their losses and the unwillingness of the militia to reenlist. Most importantly, the battle reversed the fortunes of the opposing armies in Georgia. Prior to the battle, the British had lost their momentum and were in danger of being driven out of the state. The Patriots, after their calamity at Savannah, were on the move and preparing for a major assault against the British. They had regained the initiative and their morale was high. The Battle of Brier Creek changed all of this within a few short minutes.

Few studies on this battle look beyond the engagement and its aftermath. The affects on the Patriot and British forces is apparent and yet historical works dealing with the Revolution in Georgia often neglect this important engagement. The Battle of Brier Creek deserves closer examination. The British Southern Campaign began in Georgia and had it not been for the Battle of Brier Creek it could have just as easily ended there.

Share

COinS