Thomas Brown: "Oblig'd To Surrender on the 5th June"

A Revolutionary War Experience Primary Source
This is a drawing of a blank, open journal and a quill.

A Loyalist doctor wrote about some of his experience in Georgia in 1781, mentioning Colonel Thomas Brown and his surrender of Fort Cornwallis. 


[To Reverend John Wesley from Savannah, Georgia, on February 28, 1782]

I receiv'd yours of June last from the Isle of man only a few Days ago. I am not quite certain weather I have wrote you since my unfortunate journey up the Country last Summer the particulars of which I will therefore recapitulate.

About the beginning of April last soon after the affair of Guildford (which was generally believ'd to have settled the Peace of the back Country) I set off for Augusta, having previously sent off by Water an assortment of Medicines which I had just receiv'd & which cost me near f80 in London. Before I reach'd Augusta I was informed that a Party of Rebels had a few Days before crossed the River & were spreading Devastation all around however I happily arriv'd in Safety. Col. Brown who commanded had detached a considerable part of his force to escort several large Boats then on their Way from Savannah. The arrival of wh. he waited before he thought it prudent to move[?] out. In the mean Time the Rebel party moving thro the Country without molestation increas'd from 100 to 300 & then took post between him & the Boats so as to prevent a Junction. Things were in this Situation when Gen. Green having oblig'd Lt. Rawdon to retreat to Monks Corner & captured all the small Forts on the Congaree & Santee Rivers found himself at Liberty to detach Col. Lee towards Augusta who arriving about the End of May immediately took possession of the small Post at Silver Bluff about 14 Miles down the River where the Boats had been detain'd upwards of a fortnight. He there found a most seasonable Supply for the Rebel Army consisting of the very Articles they were in the utmost want of, viz, Arms, Ammunition, Rum, Salt, Saddles, Blankets, Medicines &c. Had Col. Brown had proper Information of the state of things in Carolina he would certainly have destroy'd the Boats & brought up the small Escort to Augusta, which could have been done with great Ease by a Night march but there appears to have been an unhappy deficiscy in this Respect. Col. Lee immediately after this Success appear'd in Force at Augusta & having oblig'd Col. Grierson who commanded the loyal Militia to evacuate his Post about half a Mile from Col. Brown's, he laid close Siege to that of the latter named Fort Cornwallis. In the abrupt retreat of Col. Grierson (in which we lost 16 men kill'd several wounded & about 40 Prisoners) I had a very narrow Escape indeed, for which I trust I shall always feel a proper sense of gratitude to my Master. After a close siege of 14 Days Col Brown was oblig'd to surrender on the 5th June. the whole Garrison were to be sent Prisoners on parole to Savannah, but the very next Day at Noon Col. Grierson was basely murdered in the very midst of the rebel Troops; a sham Pursuit was made for a few Minutes after the Murdere but he was permitted to escape. Col. Lee indeed & his officers express'd abhorrence of the Fact but to my certain knowledge he refus'd to prevent it, for that very Morning I went to see that gallant unfortunate Man [Col. Grierson] & upon my carrying him a drink of Water some of the miscreants about bestow'd on us both the bitter Curses; he told me that his Life was threatened & if not remov'd from the Place where he then was he was certain the Threat would be executed. He therefore begged me to represent the matter thro' Col. Brown to Col. Lee which I did but in vain. It would transcend Belief were I to recount the Murders committed by these Wretches upon the unhappy Tories [or Loyalists] all over the Country. The Patriots at home may exclaim & with some Justice on the Impropriety of employing Indians, but their Cruelties in this Part of the Continent have been exceeded in Number at least four told by those of the Rebels. Putting a Man to Death in cold Blood is very prettily nicknamed giving a Georgia Parole. . . . 



"Dr. Thomas Taylor to Reverend John Wesley, February 28, 1782," published in A Georgia Loyalist's Perspective on the American Revolution: The Letters of Dr. Thomas Taylor, edited by Robert S. Davis, Jr. (The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 1, SPRING 1997, pp. 118-138).