|Monument marking site of Fort Cornwallis|
The Siege of Augusta began on April 16, 1781, when Patriot militia companies from the backcountry of Georgia arrived on the outskirts of the city. Augusta was then held by a Loyalist force commanded by the notorious Lt. Col. Thomas Brown.
|Gen. Andrew Pickens|
Clarke's militia was reinforced in May by hundreds of South Carolina militiamen under Gen. Andrew Pickens and Continental regulars under Lt. Col. "Light Horse Harry" Lee, the father of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
The combined forces struck first at Galphin's place, taking it on May 21, 1781. The battle was found in intense heat and one Patriot soldier died from heat stroke.
|St. Paul's Church|
The main siege of Fort Cornwallis now began. For days the two forces battled in smoke and fury along the riverfront of Augusta. Finally, at the suggestion of Lee, the Patriots resorted to the construction of a 30 foot tower from which they could fire their single cannon down into the fort. A desperate breakout was attempted by Brown's men, but failed.
As Pickens, Clarke and Lee were positioning their men for an attempt to storm the fort on June 4, 1781, Lt. Col. Brown agreed to surrender. His only condition was that the capitulation be delayed by one day so he would not be forced to surrender on the birthday of King George III. The Americans agreed and the next the U.S. flag was raised over Fort Cornwallis.
To learn more about this remarkable battle and see additional photos of the scene, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/augustasiege.