Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable and Corps of Discovery

February 20, 2016 – Ebenezer, Ga. – Saturday the Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable will meet at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center.  This morning Round Table will be followed by an afternoon Corps of Discovery walking tour.  We will meet in the Retreat’s cafeteria from 10:00 am until about noon for presentations, break for a “Dutch Treat” lunch ($10) in the Retreat’s cafeteria, then enjoy a walking tour the amazing extant Revolutionary War earthworks at New Ebenezer, Ga., a fortified British camp from 1779 to 1782, with project archaeologist Dan Elliott.  We will see several alignments of the old Savannah to Augusta Road, the colonial era Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and other important archaeological discoveries in the many projects there Dan has led.  Bring your hiking shoes, and all weather gear as we go rain or shine.

The colonial village of “Old” Ebenezer, Georgia was settled in the mid-18th c. by Germanic Lutheran settlers from the Salzburg area of Austria.  Boy were they like fish out of water.  They soon relocated their community to the mouth of Ebenezer Creek on the Savannah River, called it “New” Ebenezer, and built their community the center piece of which is the extant 1769 Jerusalem Lutheran Church (founded in 1733).  The site is an archaeological treasure of a colonial frontier village and extant Revolutionary War earthworks.  The town flourished until the Revolution.  Due to its strategic location on the Savannah River and on the road to Augusta, the British extensively fortified the town in 1779 with 7 redoubts and interconnected defensive works.  Luckily, several of the earthwork redoubts survive in remarkable condition for over 235 years old, possibly the best example of surviving Revolutionary War earthworks in North America.   We will spend Saturday afternoon with archaeologist Dan Elliott who has done numerous projects at Ebenezer, located and documented the earthworks, village site, extensive cemetery, and other features.  Our tour will emphasize the Revolutionary War aspects of this important and well-preserved site.  Many of Dan’s extensive Ebenezer research reports are posted on The Lamar Institute’s website (http://www.thelamarinstitute.org/index.php) for your perusal.

Saturday, February 20, 2016 – Round Table and Corps of Discovery

10:00 am to noon – indoors Roundtable presentations at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria.  If you are interested in giving a 10-15 minute presentation on your Revolutionary War research, questions, or finds, please let Charles Baxley know.

11:55 am – break for lunch at New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria ($10 each – please let Charles Baxley know if you will join us for lunch as we need to give the cafeteria a head count a few days early).

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – walking tour of the British fortifications, earthworks, the Old Augusta Road, cemetery, extant colonial era Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and colonial history of Ebenezer, Ga. with archaeologist Dan Elliott.

3:00 pm – carpool to site of British Redoubt #6 at Ebenezer Creek; tour old Augusta Road segment and earthworks on private property; also site of mass drownings of Freedmen following the XIV Corps of Sherman’s Army in December 1864.

6:30 pm – Saturday Evening – gather with your friends at a local restaurant (TBA) for informal “Dutch Treat” dinner and fellowship

Sunday, February 21, 2016 – Corps of Discovery

Ebenezer, Ga. – On Sunday join us for a car-pooled Corps of Discovery driving tour of the colonial road segments headed north from Ebenezer still drivable and a tour of the Briar Creek battlefield with project archaeologist Dan Battle.  On Sunday morning at 9:00 am – meet at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center’s parking lot for a car-pooled tour following the 18th c. Savannah to Augusta Road north – the route of British Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell’s invasion of the Georgia backcountry – with interpretative stops at important 18th c. sites along the way.  We will enjoy a “Dutch Treat” Sunday buffet lunch at R & Ds restaurant on US 301 near Sylvania, Ga. followed by our battlefield tour.   Some roads are sand and somewhat rough but very level.  We will go rain or shine.

9:00 am – gather at New Ebenezer Retreat Center parking lot and car pool for trip

Drive extant Old Augusta Road segments

Stop #1 – at site of the Two Sisters Ferry

Stop #2 – at site of the Tuckasee King Ferry (bathroom)

Stop #3 – at site of Hudson’s Ferry, main British post

11:30 am – Sunday buffet at R & D’s restaurant, US Hwy 301 near Sylvania

1:00 pm – arrive at Briar Creek battlefield for tour with archaeologist Dan Battle

Stop #4 – Briar Creek at Brannon Bridge monuments, American picket stations, British approach from Paris Mill (now Millhaven)

Stop #5 – Miller-Freeman (burnt) Bridge – fortified house, redan, British position, American position, pre-battle skirmishes at this bridge

Stop #6 – main battlefield – battle action

Stop #7 – colonial road north towards Augusta, new cut road to Savannah River and to American Army at Mathews (Cohens) Bluff, SC

4:00 pm – tour ends

The “Old” Augusta Road went from Savannah to Augusta, and evolved over time.  Its first iteration was likely animal paths followed by Native Americans, close to the high Savannah River bluffs and avoiding the numerous Carolina Bays and swamps along the way up the Savannah River to Augusta.  The second “improved” version of this road was made by the early European explorers, settlers, and traders, who moved its alignment back from the bluffs about 100 yards, looking for a dryer path for carts, wagons, horses, and driving domestic animals. Later the road moved further west, a more engineered alignment, as the focus on the river lessened in importance.  At Ebenezer, we will see four evolutions of this important road, starting with the earliest through a segment of the modern daily-use paved road.  On our Corps of Discovery trip to Briar Creek on Sunday, we will drive on several segments of the historic colonial road, visit the sites of well-known ferries across the river to South Carolina over which were conducted trade, settlement, internal politics and international relations, military conquest, and the route traveled by naturalist William Bartram and President George Washington (1791), and later by the 15,000 Union soldiers of the XIV Corps of Gen. William T. Sherman’s Army (1864) on its way to Savannah.

These events are sponsored by Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution and the Georgia American Revolution Preservation Alliance.  Both events are admission free and the public is invited though we will pass the hat to cover all expenses.  For more detailed information see: http://www.southerncampaign.org/roundtables

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