Second Expedition (1778)

Major General Charles Lee was relieved of his command of the Southern Military Department after the abortive attempt by President Gwinnett’s expedition to oust the British from East Florida. He was replaced by Major General Robert Howe. It was early in 1778 that a second expedition to oust the British from East Florida was planned by Gover­nor John Houstoun and Major General Howe. Both contend­ed that they should be in command of the expedition.


A 2,000-man sea and land force was staged at Sunbury . It departed on May 1, 1778, amid constant bickering among the top command echelons of the state militia and Continental forces. By June 29, 1778, the expedition was at the Saint Marys River faced by British land and sea forces, and hope­lessly bogged down by command indecisions and logistical inadequacies. Two weeks later the expedition was over. Absolutely nothing at all was gained. The British remained secure in East Florida.