Battle of Gully Hole Creek
The British forces ambushed
Spanish troops from the tree
cover along the creek.
The Battle of Gully Hole Creek - St. Simons Island, Georgia - The Battle of Gully Hole Creek, Georgia - The Battle of Gully Hole Creek, Georgia
The Battle of Gully Hole Creek
A marker near Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island
marks the approximate site of the 1742 battle that
helped assure England's possession of Georgia.
War of Jenkins' Ear in Georgia
One of the most significant battles in U.S.
history was actually a small skirmish fought
St. Simons Island in July of 1742. A victory
for the English, the Battle of Gully Hole Creek
ended forever Spanish hopes of reclaiming

The Spanish had long been outraged that the
British, led by General James Oglethorpe,
had established a colony in Georgia. The
region had long been claimed by Spain and
Spanish missions once flourished on St.
Simons and other coastal islands.

To counter any threat from the Spanish
following his establishment of Savannah in
the disputed lands, Oglethorpe built
Frederica on St. SImons Island in 1736. He
went on to establish a string of other forts
along the coast and used Frederica as a
base for his attacks on
St. Augustine when
the War of Jenkins' Ear erupted between
England and Spain.

Named for an English sea captain who lost
an ear after being captured by the Spanish,
the war raged for years. In North America, the
climactic moments came when the Spanish
moved north from St. Augustine, Florida, in a
retaliatory strike against Oglethorpe and the
English on St. Simons Island.

Arriving in the harbor off St. Simons Island on
July 5, 1742, Spanish Governor Don Manuel
de Montiano led ashore an army of nearly
5,000 men and occupied the abandoned
St. Simons at the site of today's St. Simons
Lighthouse. On July 7th he began to move
forces up the military road to Frederica.

This movement was not detected until the
Spanish neared Gully Hole Creek, a narrow
stream that cuts through a wide marsh just
south of Fort Frederica. Alerted by his scouts
to the presence of the enemy, Oglethorpe
marched out from the walls of Frederica with
a company of Highlanders from Darien  to
challenge the Spanish, who were already
being engaged by a detachment of rangers
and several dozen allied Indian warriors.

One of Oglethorpe's officers, Lt. Patrick
Sutherland, described the action:

...The General soon overcame them: most of
their party which consisted of 120 of their best
woodsmen and 40 Indians being either killed
or taken prisoner. The General took 2
prisoners with his own hands. Lieut. Scroggs
of the Rangers took Captain Sebastian
Sanchio prisoner, who commanded the party.
Spanish losses at the Battle of Gully Hole
Creek were not quite as bad as described in
the English account. Twelve soldiers were
killed and ten captured while one of the
Highlanders from Darien died of heat-related

The battle did, however, force the Spanish to
withdraw from the immediate Frederica area
until additional reinforcements could arrive.
The English followed them back down the
Military Road toward the south end of St.
Simons Island:

...The General pursued the enemy near 2
miles and halted on an advantageous piece
of ground until the party of the Regiment
came up. He posted them with the High-
landers in a wood with a large savannah or
meadow in their front over which the
Spaniards must pass in their way to Frederica.

The stage was set for the Battle of Bloody
Marsh. A marker for the Battle of Gully Hole
Creek can be seen on Frederica Road just
south of Fort Frederica and
Christ Church. To
visit the site, park at the church and walk
along the bike path south to the marker.
Military Road on St. Simons
A section of the old Military
Road can still be seen at Fort
Frederica National Monument.
A Key Battle for Georgia
The Battles of Gully Hole
Creek and Bloody Marsh
ended Spanish dreams of
ever retaking Georgia.
Gully Hole Creek
The heavy tree cover along
the north bank of the creek
gave cover to Oglethorpe's
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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