George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh, 13 April 1777

From Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh

savannah [Ga.] 13th April 1777.


Altho’ I am just going off for East Florida with our Troops, & have not any Returns by me now, as I have hitherto regularly Sent th[e]m to General Lee, & Since his departure to Brigr General Howe in Charles town, I cannot avoid this opportunity of giving you some account of our present Situation & Circumstances in this state. Our present Military Force is between Seven & Eight hundred Men. the first Regiment of Infantry were Inlisted chiefly for twelve Months, are mostly discharg’d & have about 200. Men. the Second Regiment have been recruiting in Virginia Since July last & said to have 400. Men, about 250 of whom are very lately arrived here. the third Regiment I am informed are near the Same strength, & upon their March, but not above twelve of them come in Yet.

As we cannot expect many Men this Side of Virginia or North Carolina, the distance & other Inconveniencys are so great that it makes the recruiting Service extremely Tedious. Officers were appointed the last session of our Convention for a Fourth Regiment of Foot, but God knows when they can be raised.

Our Light Horse were originaly Independent Companys upon provincial Establishment, under very bad Regulations, & Since they were under my Command after they were made Continentals, & Regimented I find much trouble to get them in any degree of order, or proper Returns of them, tho’ I have tryed almost every Method, as they are detached at different posts around the state to protect our out Settlements, & the little disciplin they were used to, they are now between three & four hundred Men but very badly Horsed, which are hard to be got here, very ordinary, & their price as well as every thing else so extravagantly high, that the pay of twelve Dollars per Month will not afford to purchase Good Horses & Ration them.

The 17th Feby last Colo. Fuser with 150. regulars & 120 Horsemen & abot 60 Indians under the Command of Colo. Brown from Augustine took one of our out posts upon the River sattilla, to the so. ward, with 70 Men, as their provisions & Amunition were exausted, and partys of the Enemy advanced to the River Alatamaha 25 Miles farther North, where I met them with the remains of the first Battalion (as non of the Second had then arrived) & prevented their crossing that River, & entering or doing any Mischeif in our Settlements, with the Loss of only twelve Men.1

I am just cured of a wound I received there, & ready to march into East Florida at the desire of our Council to retaliate, & endevour to distress the Castle of Augustine if possible, which is said to be Garrisond by about 1000 Men, tho’ I doubt our Force will be too Small, as most of our Light Horse are wanted at their several stations, to protect our out settlements from the Insults of the Savages, who have been very troublesome, & killed Several people in different parts of the state within this Six Months past. We are under great apprehensions this Summer, of a General Warr with the Indian[s] through the Instigation & Encouragement given them by our Enemys in East & West Florida. & if the Several Tribes Unite, our Commissy Mr Galphin Says they will make near 20,000 Gun Men.2 for further particulars in these & other Matters in our state I must begg Leave to refer you to the bearers, Doctor Houstoun Surgeon of our first Battalion, going for his health, & Raymond Demeré Esqr. who acted a short time as my Brigade Major, & is going to see Some Service in your Camp both of whom I take the Liberty to recommend to your Notice and are particularly acquainted with every Civil & Military Matter here.3 I should be glad to have your Commands & directions when Convenient, & have many things to Mention respecting the Service which I must refer to another Opportunity. I have the Honor to be respectfully & truly, Your Excellencys most obt Hble servt

Lachn McIntosh

Brigr Genl Georgia

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, GHi. The addressed cover of the ALS includes a notation reading: “Favord by Dr Houston or Raymond Demeré Esqr.”

1The small American garrison of Fort McIntosh, a recently constructed stockade fort on the Satilla River in southern Georgia, surrendered on 17 Feb. 1777 to a British foraging force from St. Augustine commanded by Lt. Col. Lewis Valentine Fuser of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot. Lt. Col. Thomas Brown (1750–1825), a native of Whitby, England, who had immigrated to Georgia in 1774 and had settled on a plantation near Augusta, commanded a corps of mounted Loyalists called the East Florida Rangers, which he had raised during 1776. Brown also had been active during the past year in recruiting Creek Indians to fight for the British. McIntosh’s subsequent engagement with Fuser’s force or elements of it on the Altamaha River apparently occurred before the end of February. There is no evidence that Fuser or Brown seriously intended to cross the Altamaha at this time, and McIntosh’s efforts did not prevent the British from accomplishing the main purpose of their expedition, the collecting of large quantities of livestock to feed the garrison at St. Augustine (see Searcy, The Georgia-Florida Contest description begins Martha Condray Searcy. The Georgia-Florida Contest in the American Revolution, 1776–1778. University, Ala., 1985. description ends , 84–88, and Cashin, The King’s Ranger description begins Edward J. Cashin. The King’s Ranger: Thomas Brown and the American Revolution on the Southern Frontier. Athens, Ga., and London, 1989. description ends , 58–62).

2George Galaphin (c.1709–1780), a prominent Indian trader on the Georgia frontier, came to America from Ireland in 1737 and soon settled at Silver Bluff, S.C., across the Savannah River from Augusta. Named one of the five Continental Indian commissioners for the southern department in July 1775, Galaphin exerted his considerable personal influence among the Creeks to try to induce them to remain neutral rather than fight for the British.

3James Houstoun (d. 1793) returned to Savannah in October 1777 and resumed his duties as surgeon of the 1st Georgia Regiment. By May 1780, when he was captured with Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s army at Charleston, Houstoun had become a physician and surgeon in the southern hospital department. Paroled in August 1780, Houstoun went home to Savannah, where he promptly was arrested on the charge of treason by the Loyalist officials who then controlled the British occupied city. Although Houstoun initially spurned offers of pardon, he and his brother John Houstoun, a former Patriot governor of Georgia, in the spring of 1781 took oaths of allegiance to the king and were granted royal pardons (see Commissioners for Restoring Peace to Lord George Germain, 30 April 1781, Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 20:124–26). Both brothers apparently recanted those oaths as soon as they could, and by the end of the war they were accepted again among the Patriots. In the fall of 1783 James Houstoun played an active role in organizing the Society of the Cincinnati in Georgia, and in January 1784 he took a seat in the lower house of the state legislature. In 1785 Houstoun received 920 acres of land in Washington County, Ga., for his service in the war. Raymond Demeré (d. 1791), who had been a member of the Georgia provincial congress in 1775, was appointed later in 1777 as deputy clothier general in Georgia.

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