Find your Revolutionary War Soldier in the Georgia Militia Records

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Pictured is St. Augustine, Florida. The Spanish fort was abandoned ca 1742 by the Spanish conquistadors. Afterwards, it was essentially populated by the British, French and local Indian tribes. There are several old cemeteries, including an Indian burial ground, which are available for public viewing. During the Revolutionary War, the Red Coats (British) established a prison in the downtown area. Presumably, those prisoners taken at the Siege of Charleston and Siege of Savannah were taken there. The sign in the public square relates how because the vast sea which separated them from land, the American officers were free to walk about.

During the Revolutionary War, the Loyalists and Rebels were at odds. Even neighbors and friends. An interesting account was discovered in the voluminous record of Military Affairs in Georgia dating between 1775-1793.

On 8 June 1775 John Murray (a Loyalist) of Christ Church Parish gave an affidavit stating that he was taken prisoner on 8 September 1780 on his passage by water from St. Augustine, Florida and thereafter put onboard the “Languedoes”, a French Man of War commanded by Count D’Estaign. While onboard, he discovered John Glen, an attorney formerly of Savannah, Georgia. Murray expressed his wish to Glen that he would be merciful and use gentle and lenient measures towards the friends of the Government, to which Mr. Glen replied “that it was not now a time to use gentle and moderate measures, but to make reprisals and retaliate for the injuries which had been done to their persons and their properties.” Members of the Georgia Pioneers website may view this depostion here

For those who are searching out ancestors, whether Loyalists or Rebels, the Military Affairs of Georgia 1775-1793 (on the Georgia Pioneer website under Georgia/Military) offers some pretty dynamic information concerning those fighting in the Georgia Militia of the period. The data contains regimental lists, correspondence, payrolls, Minutes of the Ccouncil dealing with individuals, and some letters regarding the Cherokees and Creeks. It provides more insight into the struggle for independence and names of Minute Men and other regiments fighting under the emblem of the local Militia. Tip: If you did not find your Revolutionary War soldier in the Continental Army, you will probably find him in the Militia.

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