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In Their Own Words

September 29, 1777

Raiders from Florida During Revolution

American history books tend to emphasize Britain’s 13 American colonies that declared their independence. In fact, not counting its colonies in Canada or the Caribbean, Britain had 15 American colonies in 1776. The two overlooked provinces were East Florida and West Florida, both of which remained loyal to Britain in the Revolution. In this excerpt from a letter to Henry Laurens, Savannah merchant Joseph Clay noted one problem Georgians were having with bands of raiders from East Florida:

“…The Scouts from Augustine have for some Months past been continually making incursions into our State for Cattle & I believed they have carried some away lately from the No’side of the Great Ogechee, this to our very great shame they have done with very little interruption … the Number of the People who have committed these depredations have never exceeded 150 … this is very much complained of by the Inhabitants & with great reason that they cannot be protected from such an inferior force… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, Letters of Joseph Clay, Merchant of Savannah, 1776-1793 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), p. 40.