As you drive along the borders between Northwestern South Carolina and Northeastern Georgia, you will begin to notice place-names that look as if they were torn directly from some of the better-written history books of the Revolutionary War (Andersen, Hartwell County, Elberton). These books cover historic battles and skirmishes that have long been overlooked but are now coming to the light of day. Such a conflict was the Battle of Vann’s Creek at Cherokee Ford, located near modern-day Elberton, Georgia.
Authors Note: Vann’s Creek was a small battle during the American Revolution in the South which occurred February 11th, 1779, just 3 days before the Patriot’s Victory at Kettle Creek. Some of the same commanders and troops at Vann’s Creek also fought at the battle of Kettle Creek. (This ceremony is always celebrated on the first Saturday in December).
Colonel Boyd had been commissioned by Sir Henry Clinton to raise a band of Loyalists to march to the royal standard in Georgia. Starting out in North Carolina, he was joined by other Tory forces along the march so that his company numbered about 600 men. He initially tried to cross the Savannah River at McGowan’s blockhouse, but was repulsed by a small militia force using swivel guns. Boyd then moved upriver to Vann’s Creek where he was engaged by Patriot forces under the command of captains Robert Andersen, William Baskin, John Miller and Joseph Pickens. The Patriots numbered only 100 men against Boyd’s 600, and while Andersen’s men fought a determined and heated battle, the Loyalists were soon in a position to flank Andersen’s force, so he ordered a general retreat. Boyd lost about 100 men, some of them desertions of militiamen who returned to their homes in South Carolina. Although they ostensibly lost the battle, the Patriots weakened Boyd’s force sufficiently enough to cause him a later loss at Kettle Creek.
The Georgia Society of the SAR has been at the forefront of an effort to bring such history before the public. They have published a number of historical brochures detailing the American Revolution in Georgia. There are now 8 events on their list of battles. In addition, the GASSAR Color Guard makes their august appearance at nearly all of these events, adding color, dignity, and esprit de corps to the celebrations. The event organizers engaged David Reuwer, the Publisher of the American Revolution Association as their 2009 Keynote Speaker and he brought down the house! See here their latest gathering to honor the men who strived so gallantly against greater odds at Vann’s Creek and Cherokee Ford.
A complete Photo Gallery that chronicles this event can be viewed here.
Photographs were taken by LCDR Bob Yankle, Staff Photographer, American Revolution Association and member of the NSSAR Historic Sites and Celebrations Committee.
You can view a select few images from the event in the gallery below. Click on an image to enlarge it in your viewer.
For a good history of the Battle of Vann’s Creek – Cherokee Ford visit the web page:
https://allthingsliberty.com/2017/02/crossing-great-divide-battle-van-creek-georgia-february-11-1779/ for more information.
This history was is linked directly from the Georgia Society’s web site