; Derden presents history of Brier Creek Battlefield

Derden presents history of Brier Creek Battlefield

By | March 26, 2020 12:01 pm

The Wiregrass Chapter of the Georgia Society – Sons of the American Revolution held its monthly meeting Thursday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. at New China Restaurant. 

With President Wilder Smith Jr. presiding, 15 members and three guests (Joyce Fennell, Mary Ellen Smith, and Scott Oglesby) attended. 

President Smith introduced the program for the evening. Dr. John Derden, professor emeritus at East Georgia State College,and a member of the Wiregrass Chapter, presented a program on the American Revolutionary War Battle at Brier Creek fought March 3, 1779 in Screven County.

Derden’s presentation was part-lecture, part-PowerPoint presentation. The timeline he presented started after the Battle at Kettle Creek in Wilkes County that happened a little more than two weeks earlier with a victory for the Patriots over the British and their Loyalists. 

As General John Ashe and his Patriot army made their camp on the northwest side of the Brier Creek and the Savannah River, the British set up their camp across the Brier Creek on the southwest side with the Savannah/Augusta Road Bridge over the Brier Creek burned. 

The Patriots consisted of militia from North Carolina and Georgia and consisted of about 1,700 soldiers and militiamen. The British forces were commanded by Lt Col. Mark Prevost and consisted of about 900 soldiers.

The actual battle lasted for only about 30 minutes, and the result of the battle was a British victory. 

American casualties were estimated to be 150 and more killed, unknown wounded, and 227 captured. British casualties were estimated to be 5 killed and 11 wounded.

The British plan was for Major MacPherson, later Lt. Col. Prevost, to occupy the south bank of the Brier Creek. As a diversion, Lt. Col. Prevost would then take a 900-man force and make a 50-mile-wide circle movement towards the west, crossing the Brier Creek at Paris Mill crossing, then moving south and attacking the American forces rear, trapping the Patriots on the triangle of land where the creek and the river met. A decoy force would demonstrate at the destroyed bridge site to distract the Patriots.

After the battle was won by the British, it was reported that Bloody Baird’s infantry and Baird himself, bayoneted many of Col. Samuel Elbert’s Georgia Continentals who had surrendered. 

To become a member of the Wiregrass Chapter, contact Registrar Dess Smith III at 478-299-1039 or e-mail him at saussure@bellsouth.net.

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