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|Rare plan of Archibald Campbell’s Georgia Campaign of 1778|
|Author:||Archibald Campbell, Lieutt. Coll. 71st Regt. / Engraved by Will.m Faden|
|Title:||SKETCH of the NORTHERN FRONTIERS of GEORGIA, extending from the MOUTH of the RIVER SAVANNAH to the TOWN of AUGUSTA…|
|Published:||Corner of St. Martins Lane, Charing Cross, London; May 1st, 1780|
|Description:||Engraving, 27 ½”h x 23 5/8”w plus margins, uncolored|
|Condition:||Very good or better, with a crease at upper left and some mends to some minor edge tears and fold separations|
|Price:||Sold Inventory: BRM1964|
|The only published map depicting the opening of the British southern offensive of 1778.
By mid-1778 the war in the Middle and Northern Colonies was going poorly for the British. Burgoyne’s army had surrendered at Saratoga, Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton had felt compelled to evacuate Philadelphia to reinforce New York, and the Americans had entered into a crucial alliance with France. Hoping to reignite the war effort, Clinton adopted a new strategy and turned his attention to the South, where he hoped to draw on a large reservoir of Tory support.
This map depicts the opening of the southern offensive, which began on December 23, 1778 with the arrival of Archibald Campbell and some 3000 troops at Tybee Island near the mouth of the Savannah river. Advancing upriver on the 29th, Campbell landed his army at Girardeau’s Plantation just east of the city. They soon encountered the main American force but flanked its right and put it to rout (Apparently a local slave guided the British flanking body on a small path through a swamp.) After taking Savannah Campbell was reinforced by troops under East Florida Governor Augustine Prevost, and the combined force continued its march upriver to Augusta, which fell on January 29. Citing a lack of the Tory support anticipated by Clinton and the threat from American forces in South Carolina, Campbell held Augusta for only a couple of weeks before returning to Savannah. For the time being the backcountry remained under Patriot control.
The British southern campaign went from success to success: in October 1779 they defeated a combined Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah; took Beaufort, South Carolina later that year; and captured the great prize of Charleston in 1780. They retained command of the Carolina coast until evacuating it after Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown.
Campbell’s map depicts the Savannah River from its mouth at Tybee Island for 25 miles upriver as far as Ebenezer. The map provides much topographic information for several miles inland along either bank, with much detail of wetlands, woodlands and areas of elevation. It also details the network of roads linking a thin layer of plantations and small towns along the Savannah and its tributaries, which are backed by largely uncleared wilderness. Two insets at upper left continue the map at a smaller scale for another 100 miles to Augusta, again showing details of the natural and human landscape. On the road from Ebenezer to Augusta distances are occasionally shown, probably noted by Campbell himself during his campaign.
The map records key events of the taking of Savannah, including the December 29 landing at Girardeau’s and the victory before the city (including a dotted line indicating the flanking maneuver around the American right). A legend indicates the positions of British warships and transports, which were distributed from the mouth of the Savannah as far upriver as Purisburg. At Bryar Creek, about 30 miles upriver from Ebenezer, small notations depict the March 3, 1779 rout of an American force dispatched from South Carolina by General Lincoln.
Close comparison suggests that the course of the Savannah and the islands downriver is based on de Brahm’s Map of South Carolina and a Part of Georgia (1757). However Campbell’s map gives a far more detailed depiction of the inland geography, information presumably developed during the 1778-79 campaign.
As mentioned earlier, Campbell’s map is the only published map of the period to depict the British offensive of December 1778-January 1779. Stevens & Tree note a later printing on wove paper with a 1794 watermark, probably published by Laurie & Whittle.
Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell (1739-1791)
The map was drawn by Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, commander of the 71st regiment. Pritchard & Taliaferro provide helpful biographic information:
“Campbell began his career in the army as a Fraser Highlander and served in America during the French and Indian War, producing at least two maps, A Map of the Island of Guadeloupe (1760) and Sketch of the Coast Round the Island of Dominique (1761). He was recruited again for service in America in 1775. His ship entered Boston Harbor while the city was in rebel hands and he was imprisoned until the following year when he was exchanged for Ethan Allen. Upon his release, he led the expedition to Georgia. Campbell was appointed governor of Jamaica in 1781 an produced a Survey of the Coast of Jamaica the next year.” (p. 262)
Nebenzahl, Battle Plans, #74. Phillips, Maps of America, p. 296. Pritchard & Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, #59. Sellers & Van Ee, North America and the West Indies, #1570. Stevens & Tree, “Comparative Cartography” #22a, in Tooley, Mapping of America. Swann Galleries, sale 1241 lot 57.
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