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Augusta became the seat of government for the colony of Georgia on December 28, 1778 but would change hands several times during the Revolutionary War. The first change occurred about a year later, on January 29, 1779, when the town surrendered to the British without incident. Many of the town’s Patriots fled to South Carolina. Those that remained either signed an oath of allegiance to the King or accepted the loss of their property. Meanwhile, by the middle of February, over a thousand Loyalists flocked to Augusta to join the British. Word of others coming to Georgia from as far away as North Carolina bolstered the British foothold in the south.

After the Patriot victory at Kettle Creek, the Loyalist commander in Augusta, Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, learned in March of 1779 that a large Patriot force was gathering nearby. He abandoned the town and retreated to British-held, Savannah. The Patriots attempted a pursuit but General Augustus Prevost sent a militia from Savannah and scattered the Patriot forces.

Fort Augusta returned to Patriot hands until shortly after the surrender of Charleston in May of 1780. Augusta was chosen to be one of the major British outposts among the screen of outposts that would, for a short-time, bring British control over much of the south.

In September of 1780, Colonel Elijah Clark raised an army of about 400 and attempted a surprise attack on Augusta. Unfortunately for Clark, one of the advancing columns ran into an outlying Indian camp and the element of surprise was lost. However, Clark still managed to penetrate and loot a part of the town. After a brief siege failed, Clark withdrew his forces.

The attack on Augusta began a refugee movement into the western settlements "over the mountains." It was this attack and the refugee response that inflamed Loyalists and led to Ferguson’s over-mountain attempt to put them out of the war. His attack on the Backcountry ultimately failed when he was defeated at Kings Mountain.

More attempts by Patriot forces to attack Augusta began in April of 1781 under the commands of Elijah Clark and Andrew Pickens. However, when Henry Lee brought his Continental forces against Augusta in the form of a crippling siege, Augusta surrendered on June 5, 1781.

About a year later, well after the British surrender at Yorktown, in October of 1781, the British evacuated Savannah taking about 4,000 Loyalists and 5,000 black slaves with them. On July 11, 1782, Georgia was finally under American control. On December 14, 1782, the British relinquished their final foothold in the south and evacuated Charleston. SC.

Augusta moved from colonial capital to state capital of Georgia at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1783 and remained the capital until 1795.

Today, several Revolutionary War sites can be found in Augusta.

Augusta State University -- The University traces its early roots to the end of the Revolutionary War when its parent institution, the Academy of Richmond County, was chartered in downtown Augusta. At the start of the Civil War, this area was part of a United States Arsenal, however the garrison surrendered to the Confederacy without incident. Augusta later became a major supplier of gunpowder to the southern army. Today, the arsenal headquarters is a university administration building.

Augusta State University

Augusta State University traces its roots to 1783 when its parent institution, the Academy of Richmond County, was chartered. Offering college-level classes to prepare students for admission into universities as sophomores or juniors, the Academy performed the role of today’s community college. A fifth year of high school, added in 1909, and sixth year in 1925, were chartered as the Junior College of Augusta. The Junior College and Academy shared space until 1957 when the College moved to this location. The following year its name was changed to Augusta College when it joined the University System of Georgia. In 1996, it became Augusta State University.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and the Augusta State University Foundation.

(Augusta State University Marker)

Meadow Garden -- The home of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, he later served as a Colonel in the Georgia Militia and was wounded during the 1779 siege of Savannah. In 1780, he was elected Governor by the Georgia Assembly.

Meadow Garden
Home of George Walton

400 feet west of here is Meadow Garden, home of George Walton, Revolutionary Patriot and soldier, Governor, Congressman, Senator, Jurist. With Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall, he signed the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, for the State of Georgia. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1749, George Walton went to Savannah about 1769 and read law under Henry Young, Esq. Prominent in Revolutionary activities from the start at Tondee’s Tavern, July 27, 1774, he became President of the Council of Safety, delegate to Continental Congress. In 1777 he married Dorothy Camber of Chatham County. Commissioned a Colonel by Gov. Bulloch, he was wounded and captured in the siege of Savannah, 1779. Soon after his release he was elected Governor. In 1780 he built Meadow Garden, on a 200 acre tract of land on the edge Augusta. Many great men of the day visited Meadow Garden. George Washington was a guest here in 1791 and Gen. LaFayette paid his respects to the Walton family here in 1825. George Walton died at Meadow Garden, February 2, 1804 and was buried at Rosney Chapel. His body was later moved to the Signers Monument in front of the Courthouse. Meadow Garden, one of the foremost shrines of the Revolution, was purchased in 1900 by the National Society DAR. Filled with rare colonial treasures, it is maintained by the Augusta Chapter DAR, aided by other Georgia chapters.

Georgia Historical Commission

(Augusta Marker)

Hammond Monument -- Samuel Hammond, a Patriot from the Augusta area, fought in many of the Revolutionary War battles at sites visited on this road trip including the final siege of Augusta.

Samuel Hammond

Born in Richmond County, Virginia, Sept. 1757, died at Varello, near Augusta, Sept. 1842.

Patriot, soldier, statesman.

Captain of minutemen at Great Kanahwa, 1774. Long Bridge, Norfolk, 1775. Aid to General Hand at Pittsburgh, 1778. Colonel of cavalry under Washington, 1779.

With General Greene in every important engagement through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. On the front line at Eutaw, Cowpens and Kings Mountain. At the siege of Charleston, Savannah and Augusta. Member of congress from Georgia, 1802. Appointed by President Jefferson in 1805 to the command of upper Louisiana. First territorial governor of Missouri. Secretary of state in South Carolina, 1831.
He gave 60 years of public service to the cause of America.

This memorial in his honor, placed by the Augusta Chapter Daughters of American Revolution, as the final tribute of his grandson, Hugh Vernon Washington.

(Augusta Marker)

Signers Monument -- George Walton and Dr. Lyman Hall, two of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence, rest beneath this monument.

The Signers' Monument

Dedicated July 4, 1848, in honor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence for Georgia: George Walton, Lyman Hall and Button Gwinnett. The first two lie buried in crypts beneath this shaft. The burial place of Gwinnett, whose body was to have been reinterred here, has never been found.

George Walton, born in Virginia, settled in Georgia, and was a colonel in the Revolutionary Army, twice governor of Georgia, judge of Superior Court and chief justice of Georgia, six times elected to Congress and served one term as United States Senator; wounded and captured by British at Savannah.

Dr. Lyman Hall, born in Connecticut, was one of the group of ardent revolutionaries from Midway, Georgia, who helped lead Georgia into open rebellion in 1776. He represented Georgia in the Continental Congress.

Button Gwinnett, born in England, settled in Savannah shortly before the Revolution and was a magnetic and fiery figure in the early days of the war. He was president of Georgia in March 1777. A quarrel with General Lachlan McIntosh, arising out of the ill-fated expedition to Florida, resulted in a duel in May 1777, on the outskirts of Savannah in which Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Georgia Historical Commission, 1956

(Augusta Marker)

Old Academy of Richmond County -- Its charter was granted at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 and later spawned Augusta State University. The current building was constructed in 1802.

Old Richmond Academy Building

This building was constructed in 1802 by the Trustees of the Richmond Academy in which to operate the school provided for in its charter granted in 1783, which had been theretofore conducted in buildings between Reynolds and Bay Streets on the east side of Elbert (4th) Street, but which was abandoned in 1799 because of their dilapidated condition.

The school occupied this building until 1926, when it was removed to its present location on Baker Avenue, except that in 1863, after Chickamauga, the building was used as a military hospital and later taken over by Federal troops, who returned it in 1866. In 1929 the Young Men’s Library Association, founded in 1848, moved into the building.

(Augusta Marker)

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church -- The original church was built in 1750 and was a part of the fortified, colonial town of Augusta, also called Fort Cornwallis and Fort Augusta depending on whether the fort was under British or American control.

Fort Augusta—Fort Cornwallis, St. Paul’s Church

This site selected by fur traders Kennedy O'Brien and Roger de Lacy as a trading post to be nearer the Indians than Savannah Town, (in present Beech Island). To protect them and others, General Oglethorpe in 1735 built here Fort Augusta (so named after a royal Princess), maintaining a garrison until 1767. Here he met chiefs of the Chickasaws and Cherokees in 1739 to pacify them after a smallpox epidemic. In 1750, there was built the first St. Paul’s Church “under the curtain of the fort.” In 1763, chiefs of the Cherokees, Creeks, Catawbas, Chickasaws and the Choctaws met here with governors of Georgia. North and South Carolina and Virginia and the King’s representative and signed a treaty of peace. Again, in 1773, Cherokees and Creeks here ceded two million acres in North Georgia. During the Revolution, the British on this spot erected Fort Cornwallis, which was captured by the Americans by surprise September 14, 1780, but soon abandoned to the British. In May, 1781, an attack under General Andrew Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel “Light Horse Harry” Lee, and the use of a Mayham tower, forced surrender by the British Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Brown, capitulation taking place on June 5, 1781. In 1786 fortifications removed and new church built by the Trustees of Richmond Academy for use by all denominations. In 1818 site conveyed to Trustees of Episcopal Church, who constructed a new St. Paul’s Church, which was destroyed in the 1916 fire and replaced by the present structure.

Georgia Historical Commission, 1956.

(Augusta Marker)

The cemetery that surrounds the church contains the remains of Revolutionary War soldiers. It also contains the remains of Col. William Few, a signer of the United States Constitution. Tours of the church are available by appointment.

This stone marks the site of the Colonial Fort Augusta, built by order of General Oglethorpe and the trustees in 1736; and known, during the Revolution as Fort Cornwallis. St. Paul’s Church was built in 1750, under a curtain of this fort.

(Augusta Marker)

Between the Savannah River and Saint Paul’s is a levee that protects Augusta from flooding. Built on top of the levee is one of Augusta’s newest attractions, Riverwalk. Between the levee and the river is another walkway with several historic markers. One marker denotes the location of the colonial road that passed through the area on the way to Ninety Six. 

Another denotes a part of the William Bartram Trail. Bartram was the son of John Bartram who was appointed by King George III as Botanist Royal in America. John Bartram took William on his trips to America in 1765 and 1766 to study the region’s animal and plant life. In the early 1770’s, William intended to continue his father’s work, but instead recorded early life in the Georgia Backcountry prior to and during the first two years of the Revolutionary War.

Room and Board in Augusta
— Augusta concludes the 270-mile, Revolutionary War Road Trip on US Route 221 that began in Chesnee, SC.

There are many shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels, as well as other historic sites along the scenic Riverwalk in Augusta. Evening dinner, an overnight stay and a morning stroll are highly recommended.

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