Battle of Bloody Marsh
A monument to Oglethorpe's
victory stands at the site of the
Battle of Bloody Marsh.
The Battle of Bloody Marsh - St. Simons Island, Georgia - The Battle of Bloody Marsh, Georgia - The Battle of Bloody Marsh, Georgia
Battle of Bloody Marsh
Legend holds that the marshes of St. Simons Island
ran red with blood following the battle, as English
troops defeated a Spanish army.
An English Victory in Georgia
The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought on the
afternoon of July 7, 1742, on
St. Simons
Island in Georgia.

Part of the War of Jenkins' Ear (named after
an English sea captain who had his ear
severed while being held prisoner by the
Spanish), the engagement ended forever
Spain's dream of reclaiming its lost colony in

The Battle of Bloody Marsh took place during
a retaliatory campaign launched by Spanish
Governor Don Manuel de Montiano from his
capital of
St. Augustine, Florida. English
forces led by General James Oglethorpe had
attacked St. Augustine two years earlier and
Montiano now hoped to take the battle to
them by attacking
Fort Frederica on St.
Simons Island.

Fort St. Simons at the site of today's
St. Simons Lighthouse without a fight, the
Spanish moved up the Military Road toward
Frederica on the morning of July 7, 1742.
Their advance force of around 180 men,
however, was driven back by Oglethorpe at
Battle of Gully Hole Creek. As the beaten
Spanish force withdrew down the island to
link up with Montiano's main army, the
English followed.

Realizing that a second attack was coming,
Oglethorpe posted a force consisting of a
detachment from the 42nd Regiment of Foot
and Darien's Independent Company of High-
landers in a wooded area overlooking a
marsh across which the Spanish would have
to cross. He then moved to the rear to bring
forward additional troops.

Although the Battle of Bloody Marsh is often
described as an ambush, original accounts
describe the Spanish coming forward with
shouting and drums beating:

...Whereupon the General hearing platoons
firing immediately made haste that way and
met three of the platoons who in the smoak
and drisling rain had retreated in disorder
and the fire continuing he ordered them to
rally their men and follow him....

By the time Oglethorpe could reach the lines
of action, however, the battle was over. The
Highlanders had stood off the Spanish until
the latter ran out of ammunition and were
forced to retreat.
The ferocity of the fighting at Bloody Marsh
grew quite a bit in the telling over the years,
with the battle taking its name from tradition
that the marsh ran red with the blood of dead
Spanish soldiers. While this may be true, the
actual number of Spanish killed was seven.
More of Montiano's men had died at Gully
Hole Creek earlier in the day.

The Battle of Bloody Marsh was, however, a
critical victory for the English. By easily driving
back the Spanish during the fighting of July 7,
1742, Oglethorpe forced Montiano to hesitate
in his plans to attack Fort Frederica. This
gave the general time to plant information in
the Spanish camp that reinforcements were
on their way. The timely arrival of English
ships a few days later convinced Montiano
that the reports were true. He withdrew back
to St. Augustine on July 15th.

The Bloody Marsh Battlefield is now a unit of
Fort Frederica National Monument and can
be visited daily at no cost from 8:30 a.m. to 4
p.m. The site is located on Demere Road.
Bloody Marsh Battlefield
The open nature of the marsh
contributed much to the victory
there by Oglethorpe's men.
Monument at Bloody Marsh
The site of the Battle of Bloody
Marsh is now maintained by
the National Park Service.
Fort Frederica
The battle ended Spanish
hopes of taking Fort Frederica
and preserved Georgia as an
English colony.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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