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Southern Theater 1775 - 1779

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While many early colonial grievances with the British were focused in New England, troubles persisted elsewhere. In Virginia, Tories and Whigs were at each other’s throats. At the Battle of Great Bridge, in December of 1775, a Tory force attempted to destroy a Whig force before they reached Norfolk, Virginia. The battle was a precursor for later conflict between the two groups. After failure at Saratoga in October 1777, British military strategists turned their focus to the South instead of putting energy into the lost cause of the North. The South was seen as a Loyalist hot spot. However, Patriot forces were no joking matter in the region. At the Battle of Port Royal Island in February of 1779 a mixed Patriot force defeated British regulars in battle, and in doing so temporarily halted British advance inland from their coastal holdings. Not long after, on February 14th, Patriots under General Andrew Pickens attacked and defeated a much larger Loyalist force at the Battle of Kettle Creek. By September, the Americans’ French allies were playing a significant role in the South. At the Battle of Savannah American-Franco forces attempted to retake the British-controlled city but failed to dislodge British defenders and abandoned the attack, leaving Savannah in British hands until the war’s end.

Battlefields Today
Many battlefields are already preserved and restored to their 18th and 19th Century state. Many are also open to visitors by national, state and local battlefield park organizations. For information on how to visit the site of one of America's early battles, visit our Battlefields Section.