The SAR Magazine

Winter 2018-2019

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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12 SAR MAGAZINE Kettle Creek Battlefield By Joseph B. Harris, Ph.D., Washington-Wilkes Chapter, Georgia SAR T he Battle of Kettle Creek was fought on Feb. 14, 1779, in Wilkes County, Ga. Approximately 350 Patriots defeated 800 Loyalists, and George Washington said of the battle, "The defeat broke the spirit of the Tories for a time, and preserved quiet in the West." Col. Andrew Pickens said, "I have been particular about my account of the affair of Kettle Creek … because I believe it was the severest check and chastisement the Tories ever received in South Carolina or Georgia." More than 125 years after the battle, DAR efforts to memorialize the site were undertaken. Now, another 114 years later, the site appears to be on the brink of being included as a battle site within the National Park System. Earlier this year, the property was increased by 182 acres through the cooperation of Wilkes County, the Watson-Brown Foundation, the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company and the Civil War Trust's Campaign '76. A major celebration was held on the site on Feb. 12. Managed by Campaign '76, the event drew hundreds of government officials and civic-minded individuals and was covered by The Augusta Chronicle and The News-Reporter. U.S. Sen. David Perdue is expected to soon introduce legislation requesting a Department of Interior study of the battle site for inclusion within the National Park System. DAR Role Preservation of the battlefield began with the Wilkes County Chapter, DAR, in 1895. Mrs. Theodore M. Green (Maude Annulet [Mette] Andrews) was regent and persuaded her husband to purchase 12.5 acres of the site, dated Jan. 9, 1900, for $75. He donated the property to the chapter, and the chapter changed its name to Kettle Creek Chapter, DAR. Mrs. Green continued her interest for years and developed the first list of Patriots who fought in the battle. Preservation and development efforts were discontinuous for more than a century as local interests and site access waxed and waned. However, according to Steven Rauch, noted military historian, the battlefield retains its pristine status. In 1930, after DAR solicitation of support, $2,500 was provided from the Department of War. With other contributions added, an 18-foot obelisk was erected on the summit of the 500-foot War Hill at the south end of the easternmost of three ridges, which was the area of the 1779 battle. The Hearst Sunday American of June 8, 1930, recognized the DAR chapter as "one of the foremost and most active chapters of the national organization." An access route had been built from the south with a bridge across Kettle Creek. According to The News- Reporter of May 30, 1930, more than 1,000 attended the dedication of the monument, including military, federal and state officials. Years of neglect followed. In 1962, Dr. Turner Bryson, a local veterinarian and president of the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation, organized a commission for park development. They initiated two memorial projects. One was a memorial marker listing of the names of the militias and the Patriots who fought in the battle. This listing, initiated by Mrs. Green, was revised many times over the years. A monument was erected on War Hill in 1979. Another Bryson Commission project was a symbolic cemetery memorial to local Revolutionary War Patriots, laid out on War Hill. The commission was given two additional acres by Amax Forest Products and had the 14.5 acres deeded to the Wilkes County Board of Commissioners "for development or return to the DAR." During the same period, David M. Sherman, working under the Georgia Heritage Trust Program created under then-Gov. Jimmy Carter, unsuccessfully tried to get the battlefield established as a state park. In 1973, local author Janet Harvill Standard released The Battle of Kettle Creek. On June 6, 1975, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places through the efforts of Kenneth H. Thomas Jr. of the Georgia DNR. Near this time, Robert Scott Davis Jr. was hired as an intern to study and report on the site under the direction of Thomas. The report was published in 1975 as Kettle Creek: The Battle of the Cane Brakes. Davis' work on the history of the History and Chronicle of Preservation

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