Kettle Creek battlefield
Entrance to Kettle Creek Battlefield
Kettle Creek Battlefield Entrance
Taken about the time of battle on February 14
1778 had not been a good year for Georgia. Following the unsuccessful Third Florida Expedition the British had invaded Georgia, taken Savannah, the coast, then captured Augusta early in 1779. Georgia formed a government in exile at Heard's Fort. The British were bragging that they had retaken the colony when a group of backcountry farmers sent the king a message: don't go telling folks you've got Georgia under control quite yet.

On the morning of Feb. 14, 1779, British Colonel Boyd sent out foragers to look for food for his mostly Loyalist detachment of men. They ran into South Carolina Patriot Andrew Pickens and his men not far from a picket line established by Boyd to secure his perimeter. Pickens men, trying to advance to catch the pickets by surprise, opened fire. The Loyalist camp responded by reinforcing the line while Pickens' advance slowed to a crawl.

Within minutes the battle was going decidedly against the Americans. Then fate made a call. A Patriot musket ball caught Col. Boyd in the head, mortally wounding the British commander. Major Spurgen, Boyd's second, lost control of the men, who moved towards the creek for protection. As the Americans gained the hill the Loyalists came under fire and tried to cross the creek for safety. At that time, Georgians under the command of John Dooly advanced on the left side of the Loyalists, while Elijah Clarke's men came in from the Loyalists right. Under a withering crossfire, the Loyalists withdraw with heavy casualties. It was a much needed American victory.

Visiting the Kettle Creek Battlefield

Kettle Creek is a great place to take a break from driving on Interstate 20 between Atlanta and Augusta. Less than 20 minutes from the highway, the battlefield offers the chance to view some historic markers and graves, a memorial to the Americans who fought here, and the chance to visit the sites where most of the fighting took place.

The entrance to the 44-acre site is marked with a set of pillars. The road then climbs to the top of War Hill, where the historic markers and graves are. Follow the road (walk, driving is not recommended) to the creek, where John Dooley and Elijah Clarke came out of the woods and surprised the Loyalists in Kettle Creek.

Want more information on the battle?
Battle of Kettle Creek
Battle of Kettle Creek

Location: Off GA 44, southwest of Washington, Georgia
Directions: Atlanta - Take I-20 east to exit 138 ( GA-15 / Siloam / Union Point / Sparta ) and turn north of GA-77. In Union Point, follow GA 77 and 44. At 5.6 miles, GA44 turns right. Follow this road, also known as the Washington Highway for 11.2 miles to Bartram Trace. Turn right. The battlefield is off this road to the left (technically War Hill Road, but the last time we visited the road was unmarked).
Additional information:
Time:45 minutes
Date added: January 13, 2004
Last update: April 4, 2004

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