2008-02-07 / Front Page

Ceremony will be held at park honoring Gen. Clark

Elijah Clark State Park will host a special program honoring Gen. Clark at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 10. The event is being held in conjunction with ceremonies commemorating the 228th anniversary of the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County. Pictured is the wreath-laying ceremony that took place at Gen. Clark's gravesite in February of 2007. Elijah Clark State Park will host a special program honoring Gen. Clark at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 10. The event is being held in conjunction with ceremonies commemorating the 228th anniversary of the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County. Pictured is the wreath-laying ceremony that took place at Gen. Clark's gravesite in February of 2007. Elijah Clark State Park will host a special program honoring Gen. Clark at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 10.

The event is being held in conjunction with ceremonies commemorating the 228th anniversary of the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County.

The observances are sponsored by the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the Athens Chapter of the SAR, and the Samuel Elbert Chapter of the SAR, with support from the Kettle Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the City of Washington, Wilkes County, the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation, Mary Willis Library, the Washington Historical Museum, The News-Reporter, The Lincoln Journal, and Elijah Clark State Park.

On February 14, 1779, at the Kettle Creek Battlefield, located about 10 miles southwest of Washington, colonists from Georgia and South Carolina ambushed and defeated a unit of British soldiers twice their size, which served to substantially check the British attack and subsequent domination of Georgia. The colonists were led by Elijah Clark, Andrew Pickens, and John Dooly.

Among those appearing on the program for the gravesite ceremony honoring Gen. Clark are Gerald Clark of Indianapolis, Indiana, a fifth-generation descendant of Elijah Clark; David Appleby, secretary general of the National Society of the SAR.

George Thurmond, vice president general of the South Atlantic Region of the SAR; Charlie Newcomer, president of the Georgia Society of the SAR; Clare Newcomer of the Elijah Clark Chapter of the DAR; members of American Legion Post 194; historian Julian Finley.

Walker Norman, chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners; Nelson Noble, park manager; a color guard, comprised of SAR representatives from each of the 13 colonies; and members of the SAR's Col. Elijah Clark Militia.

The event will also feature tours of the Elijah Clark Memorial Museum and refreshments.

The Battle of Kettle Creek was a turning point for the American Revolution in the South. It was described as "the severest check and chastisement the Tories ever received in South Carolina or Georgia." Gen. Clark emerged as the hero of the battle.

Born in 1736 in North Carolina, Clark moved to Georgia in 1773 and spent many years of his life in what is now Lincoln County. Lincoln County was still a part of Wilkes County during the Revolutionary War.

Just three years after moving to Georgia, news of the Declaration of Independence reached Savannah. The Royal Government of Georgia was buried, and the liberty and independence of this, the youngest of the 13 colonies, was established.

Georgia called a convention, formed a constitution, and adopted a Great Seal of State on February 7, 1777.

In response to the British threat, Clark recruited 200 men, who promised to follow him into battle and stand behind him until death. He then traveled to Savannah where he signed a personal bond for 4,560 pounds sterling for raising and recruiting a battalion for the defense of the western frontiers of Georgia.

Clark won many battles during the Revolutionary War but "War Hill" on Kettle Creek, the Battle of Augusta, and victories over the Creek and Cherokee Indians were the most important in Georgia's fight for independence.

Concerning the Battle of Kettle Creek, Clinton J. Perryman in his book, "History of Lincoln County, Georgia," wrote: "Early on the morning of February 14, the Americans resumed their march and surprised Col. Boyd at his camp at Kettle Creek, where his men, unapprehensive of danger, had turned out their horses to forage in the swamp, and were preparing breakfast. Col. Dooly commanded the right wing of 100 men; Col. Clark, the left with 100 men; and Col. Pickens, the center with 200 men.

"A bloody battle ensued, lasting nearly two hours, in which Boyd and 75 of his men were killed, 75 were taken prisoner, and the remainder of the forces completely routed. The American loss was nine killed and 23 wounded. With this victory, about 600 horses and their equipment, a large quantity of arms, and much clothing fell into the hands of the Americans."

In addition to the tribute to Gen. Clark, other special events commemorating this famous battle will take place Friday through Sunday, February 8-10 in Washington. The schedule for "Revolutionary Days" is as follows:

(1) Friday: A presentation, titled "Georgia Militia After Kettle Creek," will be made by Dr. Christine Swager, Revolutionary War author, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Mary Willis Library.

(2) Saturday:

.. A video depicting the Battle of Kettle Creek is scheduled to be shown at the Mary Willis Library at 8:30 a.m. Also, Dr. Walt Andrae and Steven Rauch, United States Army historians from Fort Gordon, will provide a brief summary of the battle and answer questions.

The Army-produced video will be available at the library for "on-demand" showings throughout the day.

.. Traveling from the Mary Willis Library to "The Square" in Washington, the "Revolutionary Days Parade" is set to begin at 10 a.m. Following the parade, a ceremony, commemorating the naming of the City of

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