January of 1779

January 6-9, 1779
Actions at Fort Morris (Sunsbury), Georgia
General Augustine Prevost assumes command of British forces in the South and proceeds to initiate offensive operations. A skirmish commences on January 6, when a force of 2,000 British engages a much smaller force of 200 Continentals led by Major Joseph Lane. After Prevost positions his artillery Lane surrenders. Each side incurs only minor casualties.

January 26, 1779
Engagement at Burke County Jail, Georgia
After the British capture Savannah, they offer immunity from prosecution to those who will affirm their loyalty to the Crown. Some patriots meet at the jail to determine how to counteract any possible defections from the patriot cause. There is an attempt to apprehend some Loyalists in the area. This skirmish, fought on the banks of the McIntosh Creek, is indecisive.


February of 1779

February 14, 1779
Battle of Kettle Creek, Georgia
A local militia force led by Colonel Andrew Pickens defeats a larger force of Loyalists commanded by Colonel Boyd. The Loyalists lose 70 killed and another 75 wounded or captured, compared to 9 killed and 23 wounded for the patriots. Boyd, who is wounded during the engagement, dies shortly afterward. This victory provides a significant boost for patriot morale and prevents the southern Loyalists from rallying.


May of 1779

May-September, 1779
Sullivan’s Expedition
Major General John Sullivan receives orders from Washington for the “total destruction and devastation” of the lands of the Six Nations in upstate New York. Sullivan completely ravages the lands of the Iroquois to such an extent that they never recover. With their food supplies destroyed, the Indians are forced to winter outside Ft. Niagara, where many perish from scurvy.

May 9, 1779
British raid Norfolk, Virginia
British forces led by Major General Edward Matthew and Commodore George Collier disperse the garrison at Fort Nelson and raid Norfolk. They capture large quantities of both war materiel and tobacco while destroying numerous coastal vessels and two French merchantmen.

May 10, 1779
Benedict Arnold begins his treason
Embittered because the Continental Congress was slow in recognizing his achievements between 1775-1777 and charged with abusing his authority while in command of Philadelphia, Arnold opens negotiations with Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in New York.

May 23, 1779
Benedict Arnold provides the British with information
Arnold provides Clinton with intelligence so that he can formulate his plans against Washington’s Continental Army. This also provides Clinton with evidence of Arnold’s sincerity.


June of 1779

June 1, 1779
Clinton begins his upstate New York offensive
Acting on information provided by Benedict Arnold, Sir Henry Clinton commences an offensive up the Hudson River. He captures Verplanck’s Point and the still uncompleted fort at Stony Point.

June 20, 1779
Battle of Stono Ferry, South Carolina
A force of 6,500 Continental soldiers, led by Major General Benjamin Lincoln, launches a poorly conceived and executed attack against the 1,200-man British rearguard commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland. The American losses come to 146 killed and wounded and 155 missing in action. The British lose only 23 killed and 104 wounded. The battle’s only results are that the British speed up their plans to retreat to Beaufort.

June 21, 1779
Spain declares war against Great Britain
France induces Spain to declare war on the British by promising to assist the Spanish in recovering Gibraltar and Florida after the British reject the Spanish ultimatum presented to them on April 3. Spain refuses to recognize or enter into an alliance with the United States. However, the Spanish commence joint naval operation with the French and this assists the American cause.

June 28, 1779
Engagement at Hickory Hill, Georgia
An American force commanded by Colonel John Twiggs kills or captures an entire force of 40 British grenadiers.


July of 1779

July 2, 1779
Action at Poundridge, New York
British Colonel Banastre Tarleton, commanding a force of 360 mounted Loyalists, attempts to capture Major Ebenezer Lockwood and defeat the 2nd Continental Dragoons at this town located 20 miles northeast of White Plains. These 90 dragoons are supporting local militia. Casualties were light on both sides although Tarleton is elated at capturing the colors of the 2nd Continental Dragoons that are discovered in the officer’s baggage.

July 5-11, 1779
British raid Connecticut coast
This is a large-scale raid commanded by General William Tryon, the last royal governor of New York. Tryon gathers a force of 2,600 men at Whitestone, New York, and arrives at New Haven, Connecticut on July 4. The 150-man strong patriot militia is unable to stop Tyron from burning a number of homes and ships in the harbor. The towns of Fairfield, Norwalk, and Green’s Farms receive similar treatment.

July 16, 1779
Battle of Stony Point, New York
General Anthony Wayne launches a coup de main against British fortifications after being ordered to do so by Washington. Stony Point threatens West Point, which is only 12 miles up the Hudson River. Wayne, at the head of 1,200 soldiers, assaults what the British believe is an impregnable position losing only 15 killed and 83 wounded. British losses are 94 killed and wounded and 472 captured. Two days later, Wayne, now dubbed “Mad” for this attack, destroys the fortifications and evacuates the area.

July19-August 24, 1779
The Penobscot expedition
Massachusetts, without consulting either Continental political or military authorities, launches a 4,000-man expedition commanded by Commodore Dudley Saltonstall and Generals Peleg Wadsworth and Solomon Lovell. Their objective is an 800-man British garrison at Penobscot Bay. The expedition is a total failure. British warships destroy a large number of American ships while the patriots’ losses are in excess of 470. The British accomplish this at a cost of only 13 men. Several American officers are later court-martialed because of this fiasco, including Paul Revere, who is acquitted.

July 22, 1779
Battle of Minisink, New York
Mohawk Indian Chief Joseph Brant, leading a mixed force of Loyalists and Indians, surrounds a force of colonial militia commanded by Lieutenant Colonel (Dr.) Benjamin Tusten. The patriots are overwhelmed and Tusten and approximately 45 others are killed in the battle and ensuing massacre while 29 others manage to escape.


August of 1779

August 5, 1779
Action at Morrisania (Bronx), New York
This engagement is between Lieutenant Colonel James De Lancey’s Loyalists and the Connecticut Brigade commanded by William Hull. The patriots destroy numerous buildings and food stores while also capturing several Loyalists, along with some horses and cattle. First-hand accounts give conflicting figures as to the number of casualties incurred by each side.

August 11-September 14, 1779
Brodhead’s Allegheny River expedition
Colonel Daniel Brodhead, in conjunction with Major General John Sullivan, who commences an expedition in New York, launches an ambitious assault through the Allegheny Valley. Brodhead leaves Pittsburgh at the head of 600 men and destroys 10 Indian villages and returns with much booty encountering only minimal resistance.

August 14, 1779
Congress approves peace plan.
The Continental Congress approves a peace proposal that calls for not only independence but also the evacuation of North America by the British and free navigation of the Mississippi River.

August 19, 1779
American Raid on Paulus Hook (Jersey City), New Jersey
An American force consisting of 400 men and led by Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, who wins 1of 8 medals awarded by Congress during the war, assaults the defensive positions of the British. Lee captures the position and the British losses are 50 killed and 158 taken prisoner while Lee’s losses are only very minor. American morale receives a major boost because of this action although Lee undergoes a court martial because several officers are jealous of his success. Lee is not only vindicated but also is praised for his actions by the court.

August 26, 1779
First U.S. decoration awarded to a foreign national
Congress bestows 1 of 8 medals awarded during the Revolution to Lieutenant Colonel Francois Louis Teissedre De Fleury. De Fleury distinguished himself at both the battles of Germantown and Brandywine Creek.

August 29, 1779
Battle of Chemung (Battle of Newton), New York
At what is modern-day Elmira, Continental forces are led by Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton and defeat a combined force of Loyalists and Indians commanded by Captain Walter Butler and Chief Joseph Brant. The Continentals are ambushed but manage to use their artillery to drive off the Indians. However, the Americans are criticized for their failure to pursue the fleeing Indians and gain a major victory. The Indians have many of their villages destroyed along with valuable supplies in retaliation for their continued raids against frontier settlements. Still, they manage to keep up the pressure on frontier settlements.


September of 1779

September 3-October 28, 1779
American defeat at Savannah, Georgia
The combined Franco-American forces suffer a defeat while attacking the British at Savannah. Count Casimir Pulaski, the Polish cavalry leader, is mortally wounded in an ill-advised charge during this engagement and dies a few days later. Count d’Estaing , who commands the French forces, is also wounded. A black regiment raised by the French in the Caribbean participates in the attack. The Franco-American forces incur 800 casualties while the British forces have only 140.

September 5, 1779
American raid at Lloyd’s Neck, Long Island
Departing from Shippan Point, near Stamford, Connecticut, at the head of 150 dismounted dragoons, Major Benjamin Tallmadge captures over 500 Loyalists without losing a single soldier under his command.

September 8, 1779
The return of the French fleet to American coastal waters.
Admiral Charles d’Estaing arrives at the mouth of the Savannah River at the head of a fleet consisting of 35 ships and 4,000 soldiers. Although he is without question personally brave, d’Estaing is an inept commander and, as a result, this causes patriot morale to plummet because of his failures at New York, Newport, and Savannah.

September 15-16, 1779
Naval action and allied blockade of Savannah, Georgia
D’Estaing captures two British frigates and two supply ships in the Savannah River. He then proceeds to move against the British garrison commanded by General Augustine Prevost. The next day, General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding 5,000 soldiers, and Count d’Estaing, commanding another 5,000 men, invest the city of Savannah.

September 21, 1779
The Spanish capture Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Spanish governor of Louisiana, Don Bernardo de Galvez, attacks and captures the British post and garrison at Baton Rouge, in what was then known as West Florida. Included in the surrender are Natchez and other British posts on the Mississippi River.

September 23, 1779
The U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard vs. the H.M.S. Serapis
John Paul Jones commands the Bonhomme Richard, a unseaworthy former merchantman, and engages the 44-gun frigate Serapis commanded by Captain George F. Pearson. The far more powerful British ship has Jones on the verge of defeat when he utters his famous words when asked to surrender, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Jones defeats the Serapis with half his crew becoming casualties while capturing 500 British seamen. The next day the Bonhomme Richard sinks. On October 3, Jones sails the damaged Serapis into Texel in the Netherlands.

September 27, 1779
John Jay is appointed minister to Spain
John Jay is appointed minister to Spain. However, there is no hope of obtaining Spain’s recognition for the fledgling republic. All Jay manages to accomplish is to obtain a $170,000 loan and keep the Spanish covertly supplying the nation with war material.


October of 1779

October 22, 1779
The New York Act of Attainder or Confiscation Act
The New York legislature declares Governor Lord John Murray Dunmore, General Wiliam Tryon, Oliver De Lancey, along with 57 others, to be public enemies. As a result of this act, these individuals have their personal estates confiscated.


December of 1779

December 1, 1779
Washington establishes winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey
After another inconclusive campaign season in the North, combined with the failure of d’Estaing to arrive with his fleet at Sandy Hook, Washington’s army settles into a second season at Morristown. Record-breaking cold along with a breakdown of the army’s supply system causes numerous desertions and some attempts at mutiny. Many consider this the worst winter of the war.

December 29, 1779
Clinton departs New York for South Carolina
General Sir Henry Clinton, at the head of 8,000 men, departs New York to commence a campaign in South Carolina and capture Charleston. However, upon learning of a French expedition heading to America, he returns to New York and leaves General Charles, Earl Cornwallis, in command.