John White letter
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John White letter

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: White, John, -approximately 1780.
Title: John White letter
Dates: 1779
Extent: 0.05 cubic feet (1 folder)
Identification: MS 0859

Biographical/Historical Note

John White was born in England and served in the British Navy. After emigrating from England, he joined the American Army as Captain in the 2nd North Carolina in 1775. He was promoted to Major in 1776. In 1777, White was appointed Colonel of the 4th Georgia Battalion. On October 1, 1779, White led a small patrol to capture a British detachment of 111 troops, commanded by Lt. James French, camped at Savage Station, Georgia. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the attack on Savannah, October 9, 1779. He escaped but died soon after.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a letter describing John White's battle at Savage Point, Georgia. On October 1, 1779, White led a small patrol to capture a British detachment of 111 troops, commanded by Lt. James French, camped at Savage Station, Georgia. White and his men lit fires in the woods surrounding the British troops to create the effect of a large force of American troops, and his men rode in circles around the perimeter of the British encampment shouting orders. He then rode up to the British camp and demanded their surrender; believing themselves to be surrounded, the British complied. Forest Sweet's letter to Lilla Hawes of the Georgia Historical Society regarding the original letter is included.

Index Terms

Ambushes and surprises.
Georgia--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
Letters (correspondence)
Lincoln, Benjamin, 1733-1810.
Military maneuvers.
Ogeechee River (Ga.)
Savage Point (Ga.)
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Campaigns.
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Prisoners and prisons.
United States. Continental Army.
White, John, -approximately 1780.

Location of Originals

Original letter in the possession of Col. Preston Davie of New York City.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The original letter was bought Association by Col. Preston Davie of New York City at an auction held by the American Art, January 22, 1926. This copy in the hand of Forest H. Sweet.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification], John White letter, MS 859, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Forest H. Sweet, 1951.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Publication Note

Published in Collections of the Georgia Historical Society: Selected Eighteenth Century Manuscripts, v.20 (1980).


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

Item 1: John White to Benjamin Lincoln, 1779 October 2 ( 1.0 p. ) (Copy.)
Reporting his capture of a detachment of British troops, two privateers, and two sloops with officers and crews, and 3 merchantmen on the Ogeechee River.