Battle of Bloody Marsh
On July 7, 1742, English and Spanish forces skirmished on St. Simons Island in an encounter later known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
Led by Don Manuel de Montiano, governor of St. Augustine, the Spanish organized an invasion of Georgia in mid-June 1742 with approximately 4,500 to 5,000 soldiers. Weather hampered their progress by sea, and Oglethorpe learned of their impending arrival; he prepared the defenses of St. Simons Island accordingly. He established a fort on the island, on a high bluff overlooking the Frederica River, to protect Darien and Savannah from a Spanish invasion. His forces included a mixture of rangers, British regulars, Southeastern Indians, and local citizens, but his total forces numbered less than a thousand men. The Spanish landed on the southern tip of the island during the afternoon and evening of July 5 and used the nearby Fort St. Simons as their headquarters during the campaign.
During midafternoon of the same day, the Spanish sent more troops into the region, and the English forces fired upon them from behind the heavy cover of brush in the surrounding marshes. This ambush, coupled with
The consequences of this battle were considerable. The brave stand by Oglethorpe's men restored their confidence because the Spanish no longer seemed indestructible. Conversely, the morale of the Spanish suffered greatly, resulting in retreat and a reluctance to undertake future campaigns into the region. Oglethorpe's daring actions and use of effective tactics reestablished his military leadership. On an imperial level, citizens throughout the colonies and in the homeland rejoiced at the repulse of the Spanish invasion of British North America. This decisive English victory represented the last major Spanish offensive into Georgia
Margaret Davis Cate, "Fort Frederica and the Battle of Bloody Marsh," Georgia Historical Quarterly 27 (June 1943).
Larry E. Ivers, British Drums on the Southern Frontier: The Military Colonization of Georgia, 1733-1749 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974).
Julie Anne Sweet, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.