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Colonial Memorial - Battlefield Memorial Park, Savannah, GA


A Short History of the Battle of Savannah

The Clan Donald Foundation funded stones to commemorate the service of two brothers who served on opposite sides of the Battle of Savannah during the American Revolutionary War on October 9, 1779.  More than 8,000 troops from the three armies fought in this battle to control Savannah which would be the second bloodiest battle of the war with 800 troops killed or wounded.  2,500 British defenders successfully defended Savannah against an allied force of 5,500 French and American troops.


Location:  303 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Savannah, GA 31415


           Stones                        Redoubt1                        Redoubt2          


The Commemorative Stones


        Stone1                 Stone2                    Stone3         


Transcriptions of the Commemorative Stones (Left to Right Above):

Scottish brothers Lt. Col. Alexander MacDonald (1739-81) of Fraser's Highlanders and Charles MacDonald (1745-94) aide to the French Count D'Estaing fought on this battlefield as opponents in different armies.  A truce called after the October 9, 1779 battle allowed the men to meet here as brothers for the last time, united by class and blood.

War-weakened Alexander returned to Scotland where he died in 1781, aged 42.  Charles remained in the French service, was denounced and - like his father, beheaded - on July 12, 1794 during the French Revolution.  He died childless, aged 49.  The Kinlochmoidart estate was restored to the MacDonald family in 1785.

Their father, Donald, the Fourth Laird of Kinlochmoidart, was captured and beheaded in the reprisals after a failed uprising in 1745 and his estate confiscated.  His widow, Isabel Stewart MacDonald, then fled to Paris where the boys were raised and educated along with other Scottish exiles.  Landless, they chose military careers, Alexander with England and Charles with France.

--Stones placed by the Clan Donald Foundation


The Dedication of the Stones & History of the Battle of Savannah Presentation




A History of the Clan Donald Participants in the Battle

On a fog shrouded October morning in 1779 Major Alexander MacDonald, Commander of the 2nd Battalion Fraser's Highlanders, climbed to the top of the Great Redoubt, peered into the mist, and immediately called for two pipers to come to him and play for all of their worth.

Out in the swamps, Charles MacDonald, an officer in Dillon's French Regiment, along with his fellow Scots and Irish companions, heard, and knew exactly the kind of fight which was to take place.

Down the line, Sgt. Alexander MacDonald, in a South Carolina regiment, also heard.  He too understood.

Somewhere near the South Carolina Regulars was a body of up-country militia which included John McDaniel and James McConnell.  If they heard, there may have been some ancestral remembrance, but more than likely, the 100 years that separated them from their Islay, Kintryre and Antrim ancestors was too much to overcome.

Thus began the Battle of Savannah.

At the end of the slaughter a truce was called for in order to give succor to the wounded and to carry off the dead.

Maj. Alexander MacDonald of Kinloch-Moidart advanced from the British lines, spotted a familiar figure, ran, and embraced his brother, Charles MacDonald of Dillon's.  It is not known whether Sgt. Alexander MacDonald ever saw his cousins.  It would be very surprising if McDaniel or McConnell would have recognized these first three as their distant cousins.

In those five men is tied up all of the tragedy and triumph of the Scot, the Gael, and the Celt.

John McDaniel lived to sire a very large family whose name has alternated over the years from McDaniel to McDonald and back.  John's grandfather Daniel, was out in 1715 supporting the exiled James Stewart.  He was captured at Preston and transported from Liverpool to Antigua on the Scipio, 30 March 1716.  The Scipio put into Charleston by mistake and Daniel was able to escape.

John McConnell was a descendant of the Islay refugees to Galloway who later moved to the Ulster plantations, then came with the great Scots-Irish migration to Pennsylvania, and finally to the Carolinas where the McConnells in the thousands thrive today.

Sgt. Alexander MacDonald lived to become Francis Marion's (The Swamp Fox) chief scout, his exploits are legend.  He was killed at the American siege of Fort Motte, SC, right at the end of the Revolution.  He left no known descendants.  Alexander's father was General Donald MacDonald, commander of the Tory forces at the Battle of Moore's Creek, NC in 1776.  Gen. Donald MacDonald came over from Skye in 1773, bringing many of his tenants.  He was 5th and last of the line of the MacDonald's of Totamurich and Knock who had descended from Roderick, 5th son of Sir James MacDonald of Sleat; chief of Clan Donald North.

Major Alexander MacDonald and his brother Charles were sons of Donald MacDonald, 4th of Kinlochmoidart, a descendant of John, younger son of Allan, 9th of Clanranald.  Donald was the first to join Prince Charles on his landing at Borrodale in July 1745.  Donald was captured in November 1745 while carrying dispatches.  On October 18th, 1746 he was executed at Carlisle by the English method of hanging, drawing, and quartering which they used on people that they considered traitors.  His head was stuck over the Scottish gate there, where it remained for many years.

Donald's young sons Alexander and Charles escaped to France where they were educated in the Scots College in Paris.  Charles joined the French Army, became a general and was made a Count.  Loyal to the French Kings who had given him sanctuary after Culloden, Charles was guillotined early in the French Revolution.  He died unmarried.

Alexander, his family eventually receiving amnesty, returned to Scotland, raised a company for Fraser's Highlanders, and became Lt. Col.  He was invalided home in 1780.  His large family have carried on the traditions of the Gael.