Late in 1778 Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell was dispatched by the British commander in chief in North America, Sir Henry Clinton, to proceed against Savannah. Through his Georgia campaign, particularly his capture of Savannah and Augusta, Campbell achieved one of the few unqualified British successes in the American Revolution (1775-83).

Baptized at Inveraray, Argyllshire, Scotland, on August 24, 1739, Archibald Campbell was the third son of Elizabeth Fisher and James Campbell, commissary of the Western Isles. An engineering officer, Campbell served in Guadalupe, Dominica, and other West Indies islands before becoming chief engineer for the British East India Company in Bengal, India, from 1768 to 1772.

With the outbreak of revolution in America, Campbell recruited for and received a commission of lieutenant colonel in the Seventy-first (Fraser’s) Highlanders. Captured by patriot forces in Boston Harbor on June 16, 1776, he was exchanged for Ethan Allen on May 6, 1778.

On November 8, 1778, Campbell received unexpected orders to take command of 3,000 men sailing the next day from New York to invade Georgia. The expedition captured Savannah in late December. He next led a column into the interior and captured Augusta on January 31, 1779. When Georgia Loyalists failed to appear there, Campbell began a withdrawal on February 14. While awaiting transportation from Savannah to England to marry Amelia, daughter of the artist Allan Ramsey, Archibald Campbell restored the colonial government under his commission as civil governor. Thus Georgia became the only part of the United States ever reduced back to the status of a colony.

Campbell continued his distinguished career. He ended the American Revolution as lieutenant governor and major general in Jamaica (1779-81). In 1782 he was appointed governor of Jamaica. He became a Knight of the Bath in 1785 and served as governor of Madras from 1786 to 1789. Campbell died March 31, 1791, in London and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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Plan of Savannah

Plan of Savannah

In December 1778, British troops under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell captured Savannah as part of their campaign to restore the colony of Georgia to British rule. This drawing details the town of Savannah at the time of the British invasion.

Archibald Campbell

Archibald Campbell

Through his 1778 Georgia campaign, particularly his capture of Savannah and Augusta, Archibald Campbell achieved one of the few unqualified British successes in the American Revolution.

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