Captain John Cutler Braddock
Revolutionary War Hero*

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*"Revolutionary War Hero" is not being ascribed to John Cutler Braddock simply because he happened to be in the war that won our independence. As will be seen below, as commander of the Georgia Rebel galley Lee, he earned the honor of that title over and over again in service and sacrifice so intense that the British declared him a traitor on three different occasions.

According St. Helena’s Parish records, John Cutler Braddock was born in Beaufort, SC October 3, 1743 while his father, Captain David Cutler Braddock, and his grandfather, Captain William Lyford Sr., were stationed there in command of the Beaufort and the Charles Town. The two South Carolina’s provincial shallow draft half-galleys were built to protect South Carolina from Spanish intrusion. Both men had commanded vessels sent to the aid of Oglethorpe when the Spanish had attempted to invade Georgia at St. Simons in 1742, and both became privateers of note. A chart of the Florida Keys David made in 1755 while privateering in the area is in the Library of Congress. John's mother was Mary Lyford, who was born on New Providence Island in the Bahamas.

John’s family moved to the Savannah area three years later and he grew up in Georgia.

He married Lucia Cook of Effingham County, GA in 1769 in Ebenezer Church, now the oldest standing building in Georgia.

He commanded the Rebel galley Lee in the Revolution. According to a memo written by Georgia Royal Governor Sir James Wright while sitting out the war in England, John's galleys was one of of the vessels that ran aground in Amelia Narrows in April 1777 while transporting Continental troops from Georgia to participate in the Revolution’s southernmost encounter, the Battle of Thomas Creek, Florida.

On April 19, 1778, according to a letter written by Colonel Samuel Elbert, the Lee, under the command of John, and two other galleys, the Bulloch and the Washington, captured three British men-of war after ferrying troops to recapture St. Simons. Elbert’s letter was published in the Charleston newspaper April 23, 1778. Click here to see Col. Elbert's letter.

APRIL 19, 1778
As he wrote with flourishing stroke,
Elbert rejoiced, and well he should:
His eyes beheld through clearing smoke
Raccoon Gut strewn with splintered wood,
And ragged stumps where mast had stood;
His galleys’ cannons well had spoke.

Hardee aboard the Washington,
Braddock commanding the Lee,
Hatcher on the Bulloch, these three,
Matched wit for wit and gun for gun
With awesome terrors of the sea
Until victory they had won.

None know how long St. Simon shook
From seeming endless cannon roar
Nor just how long the battle took;
But well we know the Hinchinbrook
And sloop Rebecca did no more
Terrorize the seas as before.

Britannica may rule the wave,
But not that day. To its regret
Goliath had its David met
In form of men who freedom crave
Enough to choose it or the grave
And make the payments on its debt.

J. G. (Jerry) Braddock,
4th great-grandson of John Cutler Braddock

Commander of the Lee Galley


According to records in South Carolina Audited Accounts, John commanded a large contingent of seamen at Fort Lyttleton, between Beaufort and Port Royal, in April 1779.

In May, of 1780, he is on a list compiled by Thomas Flyming of 79 men considered to be traitors to the Crown. That same year, the British Disqualifying Act listed him and 170 others as traitors. His name was also included with 113 others on the Georgia Treason Act of 1780. Click here to see the list of traitors.

The September 18, 1781 issue of the Royal Georgia Gazette gave an account of a running battle the British vessel Dunmore had with two galleys under John’s command.

For his services, John received two grants of land in Georgia, one on St. Simons, where he settled with his family. From then until his death in 1794, he held numerous office of public service including being elected  twice to the Georgia House.

Ironically, Captain William Lyford Jr., who had grown up in Beaufort, and to whom John was very close, spent the war as a Loyalist piloting British men-of-war up and down the Southeastern coast. After the Revolution, John joined up with Uncle William to participate with Colonel Andrew Deveaux—another South Carolinian—in a famous raid that drove the Spanish from Nassau. Both John and William received for their efforts substantial grants in the Bahamas.

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