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1742 This day marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bloody Marsh, which has long been credited as General James Oglethorpe's most important victory – and, in fact, the battle that determined that Georgia would be British rather than Spanish. However, the full story is more complex.
Having occupied Fort St. Simons the previous day, Gov. Montiano's Spanish invasion force took the offensive on St. Simons Island on July 7. However, he did not commit his entire force against the British troops at Fort Frederica. Rather, he sent two infantry columns to check out the fort's defenses. About a mile from Frederica, a small contingent of Oglethorpe's rangers encountered the advancing Spaniards. The two sides exchanged fire, and then the rangers hurried to Fort Frederica to tell Oglethorpe, who quickly assembled a force of soldiers from his regiment, Highlanders, rangers, and Indian allies and marched down the Military Road to meet the Spanish invaders.
Gen. Oglethorpe led this diverse military force to attack the Spaniards in what was later known as the Battle of Gully Hole Creek, where his men were victorious.
The routed Spanish columns retreated southward down the Military Road towards Fort St. Simons and the safety of Montiano's main forces. Oglethorpe pursued them until reaching the edge of a clearing where the road crosses the western edge of a marsh.
Here, he stopped and positioned his men behind bushes and trees to defend the road in case the main Spanish force advanced on Frederica. Fearing that Montiano has launched a river attack on Fort Frederica, Oglethorpe returned to prepare the defense of the fort against attack by ship. However, there was no river attack. Instead, Montiano sent three infantry companies back up the Military Road towards Frederica. As the lead company reached the edge of the marsh, Oglethorpe's men opened fire.
A brief and heavy fire fight followed. Eventually, the Spanish fell back – but so did some British soldiers who thought the Spaniards had prevailed. Hearing the gunfire from Frederica, Oglethorpe rode as fast as he could to reach the battle.
Riding south on the Military Road, Oglethorpe saw retreating British soldiers, who mistakenly told him the Spanish had been victorious. Nevertheless, he turned them around and hastened with them to join the battle. By the time they arrived, the Battle of Bloody Marsh was over – and the Georgia defenders had held the day. There had been two important skirmishes this day – both won by Georgia's defenders. However, unlike the popular tradition, the results of July 7 were not the sole factors that convinced Montiano to call off his invasion. A week would pass before that decision was reached.
Two centuries later, the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames and the Georgia Society of Colonial Wars erected a marble monument at the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
The plaque's brass plaque includes a quotation of Oglethorpe stating his resolve in face of the Spanish invasion: "We are resolved not to suffer defeat. We will rather die like Leonidas and his Spartans – if we can but protect Georgia and Carolina and the rest of the Americans from desolation."
1742 Ironically, on the same day as the Battle of Bloody Marsh was won by Oglethorpe's forces, back in London the Earl of Egmont resigned from the Georgia Trustees' Common Council (which served as the executive board for the larger body of Trustees).
In his diary, Egmont explained his resignation as "partly by reason of my ill health and partly from observing the ill behaviour of the Ministry and Parliament with respect to the colony." See July 12 entry for biographical information of Egmont.
Browne died in Athens on April 28, 1883. See April 28 entry for more biographical information.
Source: (Sherman) Photo by Matthew Brady
In this message, Sherman told Garrard to "arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by cars to the North. . . . The poor women will make a howl. Let them take along their children and clothing, provided they have the means of hauling it or you can spare them." He also instructed Garrard that mill owners and employees alike should be charged with treason.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1914 Gov. John Slaton signed joint resolutions of the General Assembly proposing constitutional amendments to create two new counties – Barrow and Bacon County. The amendments were necessary because of a constitutional limit of 145 counties, meaning any additional counties had to be authorized through constitutional amendment. On November 3, 1914, Georgia voters approved both amendments.
Source: Carl Vinson Institute of Government
1921 Heavyweight boxing champion (1949-51) Ezzard (Mack) Charles was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Charles became heavyweight champion in September 1950, when he defeated Joe Louis on points in 15 rounds. He lost the title to Jersey Joe Walcott in a 7-round knockout in 1951. Charles died May 28, 1975.
1965 Otis Redding, born in Dawson, Georgia, recorded "Respect," which helped establish him as a major rhythm-and-blues star.
1967 Scarlett O'Hara (aka Vivian Leigh) died. Though she has no Georgia ties other than the movie "Gone With the Wind" and her 1939 visit to Atlanta for the movie's world premiere of, to some she remains a virtual Georgia icon.
Source: Unknown Publicity Photo, found on Ancient Faces
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1742 While the Battle of Bloody Marsh took place on this day, Georgia president William Stephens back in Savannah did not hear of it for almost a week. In his journal for this day, Stephens recorded his fears that the imminent confrontation with the Spanish would not be successful:
Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1741-1743 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), pp. 105-106.
1861 The Southern Confederacy, an Atlanta newspaper, published an ad for the textbook Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics - a manual on infantry and rifle tactics - by native Georgian William J. Hardee. This manual had been used by the U.S. Army for years, and would be used by both sides in the Civil War. The same newspaper also published an editorial praising the work.
1864 Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers wrote to his wife that Sherman's forces were now within two miles of the Chattahoochee River:
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