Revolutionary Savannah - the Down and Dirty
The events in Savannah leading up to The Revolutionary War pinned fathers versus sons. Loyal to the King, the older generation in Savannah thrived through trade agreements, plentiful plantations, and economical growth. In the immediate sense, Great Britain’s acquisition of Florida appeared to be a great victory, but rather doubled their national debt. Thus, taxation upon the colonists grew to pay back the deeds of their homeland. The passing of the Stamp Act did not sit well with the youth of Savannah, which conversations of revolt began at Tondee’s Tavern.
Originally located on the corner of today’s Broughton and Whitaker Streets, Tondee’s was the gathering place for proclamations, public debate, and the foresight to protest. They called themselves the Liberty Boys, a group of young men defying the wisdom of their fathers, but rather stepping out on their own with the hope and belief in a new country. When word traveled from Boston about their tea party, the Liberty Boys paraded through the streets feathering those in favor of the King, celebrated in the squares, and hung the Royal Governor Wright in effigy in Johnson Square. A movement was born in Savannah.
On August 2nd, George Walton, Lyman Hall, and Button Gwinnett penned their names on The Declaration of Independence, almost an entire month after the other delegates.
In 1778, the British quickly took over Savannah with little fight, controlling Savannah’s valuable port. It wouldn’t take long for the new American’s to attempt taking Savannah back the following year. However, on October 9th, 1779, nearly 830 colonists, French, and Haitian men lost their lives trying to capture Savannah back from Great Britain. Only lasting 55 minutes, respected men such as William Jasper, who’s monument lies in today’s Madison Square, fell. Also, lost was George Washington’s first commanding officer of America’s calvary, Casmir Pulaski. He peacefully lies in today’s Monterey Square.
The turning point in Savannah did not come until Rhode Island’s Nathanael Greene commanded troops under new tactics of gorilla warfare, pushed the British out of Savannah. The war soon ended in 1783, bringing peace and recovery to Savannah. The original hopes of those young men in Tondee’s Tavern came true and from the roots of Savannah, the work began on growing a new kind of country.