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Battlefield in Screven Co. Added to National Register of Historic Places

Six new places in Georgia were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. A spot in Screven County is among them.

Six new places in Georgia were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property’s architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes, and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants.

Brier Creek Battlefield- Screven County

Brier Creek Battlefield was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2020. The nomination was sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division, and nomination materials were prepared by Scott Butler, Senior Archaeologist and Vice President at Brockington and Associates.

Brier Creek Battlefield is a historic district encompassing 2,686 acres within the state-owned Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Screven County, Georgia. Located on a natural peninsula formed by the confluence of Brier Creek and the Savannah River, Brier Creek Battlefield features relatively low and flat topography with vegetation that consists of mature stands of planted loblolly pine trees actively managed for silviculture. Anhydric (dry) soils in the peninsula are surrounded by wet, swampy cypress forests which border Brier Creek and the Savannah River.

In 1778, the British military high command planned to win the Revolutionary War in America by conquering the South. The British seized the city of Savannah in December 1778 with only minor losses and made plans to push an occupying force inland to take control of the upcountry around Augusta. When a British expeditionary force failed to capture Augusta in January 1779, they began retreating slowly back to Savannah, with American forces following close behind. The British burned Miller’s Bridge across Brier Creek as they retreated, slowing the American pursuit. The Americans set up camp on the north side of the creek on February 26, 1779. It was here that the British would attack the American encampment on March 3, resulting in a major American defeat. Brier Creek Battlefield is significant at the state level under Criterion A, in the area of military history, due to its association with the American Revolutionary War (1776-1781), an event which made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of history. The Battle of Brier Creek is one of the few major battles that occurred in Georgia during the Revolutionary War. The battlefield was first occupied by General John Ashe’s American army on February 26, 1779. The battle occurred on March 3, 1779, and the victorious British army, along with surviving American prisoners, vacated the area on March 4, 1779. The overwhelming American defeat firmly established British military control of the Georgia side of the Savannah River, between Savannah and Augusta. General William Moultrie of the South Carolina militia later stated that the American defeat at Brier Creek was so disastrous that it extended the war by at least a year, and that without this British victory, the subsequent 1780 British invasion and capture of South Carolina would likely never have happened.

The Brier Creek Battlefield is also significant at the state level under Criterion D in the area of historic archeology. As an American defeat, historians and archeologists have largely neglected study of the Battle of Brier Creek. Archeological investigations have documented important combat zones, bivouac areas, and battlefield landscape features, and the potential for significant further research. Additional investigation is necessary to fully delineate the locations of American picket posts, British main line, American main line, American camps, building sites, fields, and possible gravesites. Due to investigations that indicate the location of the Miller farm and the Savannah-Augusta Road, additional study of Brier Creek Battlefield is likely to yield information in the areas of agriculture and transportation.

The other locations include:

  • Edmund and Mildred Abrahams Raised Tybee Cottage- Chatham County
  • Sandersville High School- Washington County
  • Milner – Walker House- Spalding County
  • Georgia Industrial Home- Bibb County
  • Dixville Historic District- Glynn County

Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.

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