Oconee River, near

Other names:
Big Shoals,  Dry Fork of Long Creek, Long Creek

Skirmish, Capt. Thomas Dooly vs. *Coweta Lower Creek, near Oconee River, 22 July 1776[1777?]

Where: 33.7659558 -83.0359841 Dry Fork Creek, source

Maps: [map notes]

  • 33.7659558,-83.0359841 Dry Fork Creek, source
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5 (for source), 0 (for skirmish)

  • 33.9078965 -82.8868094 Dry Fork Creek, mouth
  • GNIS record for Dry Fork Creek, mouth. See mapping options
  • Confidence: 5 (for mouth), 0 (for skirmish)

  • 33.8387300 -83.310434 Barnett Shoals Dam (Big Shoals), Oconee River
  • GNIS record for Barnett Shoals Dam. See mapping options
  • Confidence: 5 (for dam/shoals), 0 (for skirmish)


  • A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia: ..., 1837, p.715
    94. An Act to incorporate a company for the improvement of the navigation of the Oconee river, from the mouth of fishing creek near Milledgeville, up to the Big Shoals at John Barnett's. Approved Dec. 15, IS 10. Vol. II. G12.

  • Martha Condray Searcy, The Georgia-Florida Contest in the American Revolution, 1776-1778, 1985, Univ of Alabama Press, p.112.

  • CBB:
    Capt. Thomas Dooley had returned from Virginia recruiting Continental soldiers for the Georgia line and taken up a post in Wilkes Co., Ga. according to Gordon Burns Smith in his recently published Morningstars of Liberty, Vol. 1, pp. 90 - 91 ... citing a letter which placed the ambush at the Dry Fork of Long Creek....McCall dates it in 1776 in his History of Georgia, pp. 316-317....

  • William R. Nester, The Frontier War for American Independence, 2004, Stackpole Books, p.166-167:
    Before leaving, Tait had talked several Coweta Lower Creek chiefs into leading war parties against the frontier while Lt. Colonel Thomas Brown dispatched his Florida scout companies on various raids. Along the Ogeechee River, the Coweta Indians murdered the wife and daughter of militia captain Elijah Clark at their home and killed Captain Thomas Dooley as he led a patrol of Georgia Continentals. The ranger patrols scouted and looted more than killed, skirting Savannah and Augusta and invading St. Simon's Island before heading back with cattle herds and other plunder to St. Augustine.

    Capt. John Dooley sought to avenge his brother's death but picked the wrong target. He ordered his troops to capture at Galphin's Silver Bluff home Lower Creek chief Handsome Fellow and his delegation who were returning from talks with Gov. John Rutledge in Charles Town. The incident almost provoked a war not just with the creek, but between South Carolina and Georgia.

  • Francis Bernard Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, 1914, The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, Inc, p.200:
    Dooley, Thomas (Ga). 1st Lieutenant 1st Georgia, 12 December, 1775; Captain __ 1776, killed by Indians near Oconee River, 22d July 1776.

  • Franklin Benjamin Hough, American Biographical Notes: Being Short Notices of Deceased Persons,..., 1875, J. Munsell, p.116:
    DOOLEY, THOMAS, captain in the revolution; was killed in a skirmish with Indians near the Oconee river, Ga., July 22, 1776.

  • Statistics of the State of Georgia:..., "Dooly County, 1849, W. Thorne Williams, p.210
    Colonel John Dooly, from whom the name of this county was derived, settled in Lincoln county about the beginning of the American Revolution, and received a commission .as Captain in the Georgia continental brigade. His brother, Captain Thomas Dooly, a gallant officer, was murdered by the Indians under circumstances so aggravated, that he determined, regardless of consequences, to embrace the first opportunity to revenge his death. The circumstances were these : Early in a skirmish with the savages, on the twenty-second of July, 1776, near the Oconee river, Captain Thomas Dooly received a most severe wound ; but indifferent to his sufferings, he continued to encourage his men, and actually fired two shots at the enemy after he was wounded. His junior officer, more intent upon his own safety than upon his duty, neglected his commander, and was one among the first to leave the ground. Captain Dooly, in an agony of suffering, implored his men not to leave him in the power of his enemies ; but seized with consternation, and following the'example of their lieutenant, they left him to his fate, and when last seen he was in the act of defendng himself with the end of his gun. He was afterwards murdered by the foe, and Captain John Dooly concerted a plan to attack the Indians at Galphinton, after propositions of peace had been made by the constituted authorities. The plan was discovered, Captain Dooly was arrested, and a court martial ordered, but he gave-up h is commission, and was shortly afterwards appointed colonel of militia in Wilkes county.

  • William J. Northen, Men of Mark in Georgia, "Colonel John Dooly", p.54-55.
    On July 22, 1776, Captain Thomas Dooly, a brother of Colonel John Dooly, and a gallant officer, was murdered by the Indians near the Oconee River in a skirmish, under circumstances of great aggravation. Captain Thomas Dooly had received a severe wound, but indifferent to his sufferings he continued to encourage his men, and he himself fired two shots at the enemy after he was wounded. The officer next in command, thinking more of his own safety than of his duty, was among the first to leave the field and the helpless Dooly in the power of his enemies. He bravely defended himself to the last with the end of his gun, but he was finally overcome and murdered by the foe. This cruel and cowardly act Colonel John Dooly, his brother,etermined to avenge. Fired by resentment at his brother's death, as well as by a lofty feeling of patriotism, he became a terror tothe Indians throughout Georgia. So eager was he to carry out his purposes th at he planned an attack upon the Indiana at Gaiphinton, after propositions of peace had been made by the constituted authorities. The plan was discovered, and Dooly was arrested. General Elbert was ordered to try him by a court-martial. Dooly requested to resign his commission, which was granted. He was shortly afterwards appointed Colonel of militia in Wilkes County.

  • NBBAS:One p.185-186. Shows date as 22 July 1777, in Wilkes County GA, near the Oconee River. Dooly had left his station at Long Creek to pursue some Indians who had stolen some of their horses. Six were killed, including Dooley. Three wounded made it back to Long Creek.

  • JR:
    • The ambush is described as occurring on the "dry fork of Long Creek" and as near the Oconee River.
    • Wilkes County GA in 1777 included the modern Wilkes, and all or part of Elbert, Hart, Madison, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro, Warren, and Lincoln counties.
    • I have been unable to find any Long Creek merging with any Oconee River.
    • More than one Long Creek (or alternate name) merge with Ogeechee River.
    • North Oconee River and Long Creek can be be found in Oglethorpe County, but are not interconnected.
    • All the older sources date this action in 1776. Two modern sources (Searcy?, O'Kelley) show it in 1777. RevWar75 appears to show both.
    • There appears to be the possibility that the skirmish was on a Long Creek on the Ogeechee River rather than the Oconee River.
    • Dry Fork Creek merges into Long Creek which in turn merges into the Ogeechee River.
    • Dry Fork Creek is approximately 12 miles long, running off to the WSW. Its source is south of Hogan GA. The skirmish could be anywhere on the creek.
    • Barnet Shoals (Big Shoals), on the Oconee River is approximately 16 miles west of the source of Dry Fork Creek. Basis of site location.. The presumption is that Dooly was camped on Dry Fork Creek and the ambush occurred between his camp and Big Shoals.

  • Dry Fork/Long Creek/Ogeechee watershed
    Dry Fork
    North/Middle Oconee River watershed
    N Oconee

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • July 1776 listing 7/22/1776 Big Shoals, Oconee River. Shown as British victory.
  • July 1777 listing 7/22/1777 Oconee River. Shown as British victory.

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