When historians piece together events that happened centuries earlier, there are many techniques used in order to make sure what is documented is authentic. One method that proves valuable is studying any letters that have survived the effects of time and nothing is more powerful than the written word, especially when it comes to emotionally understand the impact of events that were happening in the moment. When looking back at all that transpired within the American Revolution, one example of studying letters has to do with correspondence between Lachlan McIntosh and George Washington before becoming President of the United States.
Colonel Lachlan McIntosh informs General George Washington in a letter that he is content regarding his recruitment attempts within the colony; the date on the letter is December 28th, 1776 and is from Savannah, Georgia. McIntosh’s news, however, was not entirely all good as his letter concludes with reporting that because there is limited manufacturing capability in the South, the cost of goods that are needed would be two or three times more than in the North; this would make the acquisition of arms and clothing for the new recruits harder.
Recently, McIntosh received a promotion in position from colonel of the Georgia militia to now colonel of the Continental Army. The promotion was considered as a reward for defending successfully from British attack Savannah during the Battle of the Rice Boats; this took place on March 2nd and March 3rd between Georgia and South Carolina in the Savannah River.
McIntosh had been born in Scotland but when he was eleven years old, his family resettled to Georgia in 1736. The Georgia colony was established to be a military buffer zone between rice plantations of South Carolina that were handled by slaves from Africa; the British landlords meanwhile enjoyed the Spanish colony of Florida and the Caribbean sun. Lachlan’s father was kidnapped during the War of Jenkin’s Ear in 1740; the conflict was between Spanish Floridians and British Georgians. Eventually, he was released but sadly his health had deteriorated; he passed away shortly after.
Lachlan McIntosh would eventually seek out and acquire military training after spending some time in well-known British evangelist Whitefield’s Savannah orphanage. Originally, Lachlan and his brother William wanted to enlist in the Jacobite Rebellion of Scots against Prince William of Orange and Queen Mary. However, they were considered as hopeful young men in whom they were persuaded to remain in Georgia by James Oglethorpe; He was the founder of the colony.
Despite remaining behind, Lachlan would discover many other opportunities to battle against the British crown that started with his commission that he received to join the militia of Georgia as its’ colonel on January 7th, 1776.