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In Their Own Words

October 05, 1779

Lack of Money, Siege of Savannah in Letter

Savannah merchant turned military leader Joseph Clay wrote to William Palfrey this day, describing their desperate lack of money and briefly detailing attempts to re-capture Savannah from the British:

“… We shall very soon be out of Money, the Gen’l has already drawn on me for near 400,000 Dollars, not one farthing of which is for Pay to the Army, so that unless you have Money on the way we shall very soon be in a Distressed Situation. Our Batteries were opened Yesterday w’th what effect we are not able to Judge, - their firing on us has been very inconsiderable, a few Days I am hopefull will put us in Possession of the Town - the Count D’Staing [French Admiral Count D’Estaing, the American ally who would play a large role in the decisive victory at Yorktown two years later] we are informed took a Frigate & Two Transports… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, Letters of Joseph Clay, Merchant of Savannah, 1776-1793 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), p. 149.