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The LAMAR Institute

May 18, 2018-Savannah, GA.


Finding the Battle of Purysburg, April 29, 1779



Location: Fort Morris Historic Site, 2559 Fort Morris Road, Midway, Georgia 31320

Date and Time: Thursday, May 28, 2015, 6:30-7:30PM

Daniel Elliott, President and Researcher at the LAMAR Institute will make a presentation on their fieldwork and laboratory work on the Purysburg Revolutionary War Battlefield Project.The Public is invited to this archaeology presentation about ongoing search for sites of Revolutionary War battle sites of Purysburg and Black Swamp, South Carolina. While George Washington and the Patriots were busy in the northern colonies, the American Revolution made its way south. Archeologists with the LAMAR Institute discovered extensive evidence of the Battle of Purysburg, South Carolina. The April 29, 1779 battle occurred when British Light Infantry troops and two battalions of the 71st Scottish Highlander Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland, crossed the Savannah River from Abercorn, Georgia and invaded the colonial town of Purysburg. Thousands of additional British troops under command of Major General Augustin Prevost followed the next day. About 220 South Carolina Continental soldiers camping inside and around town manned defensive works, but were no match for the greater number of British troops. The Patriots, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander McIntosh, abandoned their posts at Purysburg and, after joining with Brigadier General William Moultrie’s 1,000 militia troops from nearby Black Swamp, retreated towards Charleston.


During five weeks of extensive field work, LAMAR Institute archeologists discovered and mapped the locations of more than 100 musket balls, and several canister shot and explosive shells across the landscape indicating where fighting took place. They also discovered Patriot soldiers’ camps at Purysburg. Archaeologists documented known fortification trenches and also identified and recorded several new fortifications from the Revolutionary battle. The project is being funded by the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program. Archaeologists are now analyzing the artifacts and map data to compile a report that will be available to the public.


Quick Facts:


  • This is a two-year project with various phases of research, field work, lab work, and report writing.
  • Purysburg, South Carolina became an important location in the American Revolution following the 1778 British shift to the southern theater of the war in Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Following the British taking of Savannah, Georgia in 1778, American Major General Benjamin Lincoln established his headquarters at Purysburg to regroup Patriot forces and hold the Savannah River as the front line.
  • The Patriots established its secondary headquarters at Black Swamp, north of Purysburg.
  • For the next several months, thousands of Patriot troops in the area held a stand-off with thousands of their British counterparts located across the Savannah River at New Ebenezer, Georgia.
  • Prior to the British attempt to take Charleston, South Carolina, British Major General Augustin Prevost’s troops engaged the Patriots in a brief battle at Purysburg.
  • Patriot troops commanded by General Moultrie retreated to Charleston to fortify that town in advance of Prevost’s expected attack there.
  • The 32-year-old LAMAR Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission to promote archaeological research and public education in the southeastern United States.
  • The LAMAR Institute and its associates have been awarded and/or involved in eight NPS American Battlefield Protection Program grants since 2001.


For more information or to schedule an interview with archaeologists, please contact Dan Elliott at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (706) 341.7796. For more information about The LAMAR Institute visit www.thelamarinstitute.org


This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior. The Bluffton Branch Library is not a sponsor of this program.


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