Marker Monday: Battle of Kettle Creek

In honor of Independence Day, during the month of July, #MarkerMonday will be exploring individuals and events related to the Revolutionary War in Georgia. Join GHS as we learn more about the role Georgia and her people played in the fight for independence.

Image Credit: David Seibert

This week’s #MarkerMonday highlights the Battle of Kettle Creek. After capturing Savannah in 1778, British forces prepared to march on Augusta, Georgia, in early 1779. British Army Colonel James Boyd from South Carolina, traveled to Georgia with orders to recruit southerners sympathetic to the British cause (Loyalists) into the British military. Boyd and his British forces raised roughly 600 Loyalists and crossed the Savannah River into present day Elbert County to join the British Army at Augusta. Small groups of rebel militia pursued the Loyalists during their march through South Carolina and Georgia to no avail. During the march, Boyd and his forces made camp at Kettle Creek in present day Wilkes County. Boyd was to rendezvous with British reinforcements further up along Kettle Creek but was unaware that the reinforcements had already begun to withdraw back to Savannah.

Georgians in the Revolution At Kettle Creek (Wilkes Co.) and Burke Country. Main Collection. F292 B95 D39 1986. Courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society.

Meanwhile, 340 South Carolina and Georgia militiamen, under Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina, and Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia, had pursued Boyd for several days. Pickens, Dooly, and Clarke planned to surprise Boyd’s men by attacking before they could rendezvous with reinforcements. On February 14, 1779, Pickens led the main body of troops, 200 men, against Boyd’s camp at Kettle Creek. Dooly and Clarke attacked from across the creek on the left and right, respectively. During the battle, Boyd was mortally wounded. With their commanding officer injured, many Loyalists panicked and began to retreat. The Patriot victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek boosted the moral of other Patriots after Savannah had fallen to the British in late 1778. The results of the battle also stunted British attempts to recruit loyalists to their cause in Georgia.

Top Image taken from larger image of the American flag. Public Domain.

Explore the links below to learn more about the Battle of Kettle Creek and the Revolutionary War in Georgia.

GHS is proud to house a letter written by John Dooly, one of the commanding officers leading the Patriots attack at the Battle of Kettle Creek.

Full Marker Text

New Georgia Encyclopedia (Battle of Kettle Creek)

New Georgia Encyclopedia (Revolutionary War in Georgia)

Today in Georgia History

Kettle Creek Battlefield

Explore Southern History: The Battle of Kettle Creek- Wilkes County, Georgia Battle of Kettle Creek

National Register of Historic Places: Kettle Creek Battlefield

American Military History Podcast: Ep. 49- Georgia on My Mind: Capture of Savanah and the Battle of Kettle Creek (Link to listen via Youtube)

The News Reporter: Sons of American Revolution begin events leading up to observance at Kettle Creek

Further Reading

The Georgia Historical Quarterly has published the following article about the Battle of Kettle Creek which can be accessed on JSTOR. If your library does not have access to JSTOR, you can go to and create a free MyJSTOR Account.

Davis, Robert Scott. “Kettle Creek, Georgia: The Revolutionary War Battle of The Canebrakes.” Kettle Creek Battlefield. Accessed June 13, 2017.

Davis, Robert Scott, Jr., Georgians in the Revolution: At Kettle Creek (Wilkes Co.) and Burke County (Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1986).

Elliot, Daniel T., LAMAR Institute Publications Series, Report Number 131. “Stirring Up a Hornet’s Nest: The Kettle Creek Battlefield Survey.” The LAMAR Institute. 2008. Accessed June 13, 2017.

Elliott, Daniel T., and Robert Scott Davis, Jr. LAMR Institute Publications Series, Report Number 189. “The Search and Discovery of Captain Robert Carr’s Fort and Its Revolutionary War Battlefield Wilkes County, Georgia.” The LAMAR Institute. 2014. Accessed June 13, 2017.