Siege of Savannah
The Siege of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War in 1779.
The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah from September 16 to October 18, 1779. On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish nobleman Kazimierz Pułaski, fighting on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint American-French attack, the siege failed, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, close to the end of the war.
The battle is much remembered in Haitian history; the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, consisting of over 500 gens de couleur—free men of color from Saint-Domingue—fought on the French side. Henri Christophe, who later became king of independent Haiti, is thought to have been among these troops. Many other less notable Haitians served in this unit and formed the officer class of the rebel armies in the Haitian Revolution, especially in the North Province around today's Cap Haitien where the unit was recruited.
French entry into the war meant that British naval superiority was now contested. The Franco-American alliance began poorly, however, with failed operations at Rhode Island in 1778 and Savannah, Georgia, in 1779. Part of the problem was that France and the United States had different military priorities: France hoped to capture British possessions in the West Indies before helping to secure American independence. While French financial assistance to the American war effort was already of critical importance, French military aid to the Americans would not show positive results until the arrival in July 1780 of a large force of soldiers led by the Comte de Rochambeau.