By Jeannette Holland Austin
There was a grand plan for the invasion from the south by an army operating out of East Florida under Lieutenant Colonel Mark Prevost. The army was to be joined by a fleet coming down from New York under the command of Colonel Archibald Campbell. But the army of Colonel Prevost was turned back in its first attempt before he could reach Savannah. However, in his southward retreat he caused destruction along the coast by burning and pillaging. The Congregational Church at Midway had suffered British vengeance and was burned to the ground. Colonel Campbell's mission, however, was more successful. He arrived in Savannah in December with an army of 2,000 aboard his vessels and landed near the mouth of the river to prepare to infest Savannah. The city was defended by General Robert Howe with an army of 600 men. Though outnumbered, he should have been able to hold the city, as it had excellent defenses in the swamps, however, he left one entrance open and the British were told about this by an old Negro with the name of Quamino Dolly. The slave acted as a guide for the British army and led them through the one unguarded passage in the swamps to the rear of the American army. The garrison was caught by surprise and the English chased the American soldiers through the city in a shameless route. It was an easy victory. Over half of the American army was killed, drowned or captured while the British lost six dead, with nine wounded. General Howe washed his hands of Georgia and ordered the garrisons at Sunbury and at Augusta, up the Savannah River, to join him in South Carolina. They refused. Georgians resented the General, but he was acquitted by a court-martial and relieved of his command of the Southern Department.
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