Revolutionary War_Southern Campaign_Duel in the Streets of Savannah, Georgia

Jeannette Holland Austin
4 min readApr 21, 2022

At the onset of the American Revolution, Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett competed to lead the independence movement in Georgia. One of the most valiant Generals in the colony, General Lachlan McIntosh came under criticism for his family connections, who were Tories in support of the English.

Nevertheless, in 1770 Lachlan was a leader in the independence movement in Georgia and during January of 1775 helped to organize delegates to the Provincial Congress from the Darien District. In January of 1776 he was commissioned as a colonel in the Georgia Militia and raised the First Georgia Regiment of the Georgia Line, which was organized to defend Savannah and help repel a British assault at the Battle of the Rice Boats in the Savannah River. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army, charged to defend the southern flank of Georgia from British incursions from Florida. During 1776 and 1777, McIntosh and Gwinnett, the Speaker of the Georgia Provisional Congress and radical Whig leader, were embroiled in a bitter political dispute . The dispute began when McIntosh succeeded Gwinnett as commander of the Georgia Continental Battalion.

The two men represented opposing factions in the Patriot cause and Gwinnett was asked to step aside after his election was called into question by opposition within the movement. Despite this, Gwinnett went on to become a delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He returned to Georgia after his allies gained control of the Provisional Congress and succeeded in electing him speaker and commander-in-chief of the Committee of Safety. Hence, he began purging the government and military of his political rivals.

Gwinnett’s first target was George McIntosh, a brother of General Lachlan McIntosh. Gwinnett proceeded to order General McIntosh into British Florida on a poorly planned military expedition which failed. Gwinnett and McIntosh publicly blamed one another for the failure. George McIntosh had become unpopular in political circles when a proposal was made by Governor John Treutlen to united South Carolina and Georgia. That was when his contemporaries accused him of collaborating with the british by shipping 400 barrels of rice down the St. John’s River for use of the british.

In January of 1777, George McIntosh had been placed in irons in the Savannah jail. Lachlan McIntosh, angrily fought…

Jeannette Holland Austin

Author of 100+ genealogy books. Owner of 8 genealogy websites available by subscription.