Siege of Savannah

9th September 1779 - 18th October 1779
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Penobscot Expedition 24.7.1779 - 12.8.1779
Next action : Capture of Omoa 15.9.1779 - 20.10.1779


Royaume de France

French Squadron, Jean Baptiste Charles Henri d'Hector, comte d'Estaing (1729-1794)
Ship NameCommanderNotes

Great Britain

British Vessesl
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Fowey (24) John Henry (1731-1829)
Vigilant (20) Brabazon Christian (1755-1789)
Rose (20)   Sunk
Savannah (14) Richard Fisher
Germaine (14)  
Keppel (8)  
British Galleys (7 vessels)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Snake (12) Billy Douglas (d.1817)
Viper (10) Monine Hollingberry

Notes on Action

On September 9th, the French admiral, d'Estaing, with twenty ships of the line and thirteen smaller craft, anchored at Tybee. at the mouth of the Savannah river. The island of Tybee was seized, and between the 9th and 16th a large force of French troops numbering over three thousand, who had been drawn from the garrisons of the French West India islands, were landed at Beauheu, thirteen miles from Savannah, and the town of Savannah was summoned to surrender. The British ships, Fowey, 20, Captain John Henry, Rose, 20, Captain John Brown, Vigilant, 20, Commander Brabazon Christian, Keppel, 12, Germaine, 12, Savannah, 14, and seven galleys, were lying at that place. They landed men and guns as soon as d'Estaing's arrival was known, and the Rose, being old, dilapidated, and worm-eaten, was sunk in the channel. General Prevost, the British commander on land, brought up troops from Port Royal; and the place, which might have been carried by d'Estaing by an immediate attack, was, by the delays and short-sightedness of the French, allowed time to develop its resistance. A truce of twenty-four hours gave Colonel Maitland time to come up from Port Royal. The French and Americans broke ground, and on the night of October 3rd-4th, bombarded the town. On the night of the 9th, they delivered an assault. D'Estaing was filled with alarm for his ships, which on that exposed coast were suffering much from storms; and his attack was on that occasion as rash as his abstention from attack had previously been timid. The assault was repulsed with heavy loss, amounting to about 750 in the case of the French alone. The loss of the British Navy was four killed and sixteen wounded. The siege was abandoned on the 18th, and d'Estaing re-embarked his diminished force.

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