Civil War

August 22, 1864

Slave Insurrection in Quitman

Georgians, like all Americans, were deeply divided by the Civil War. On August 22, 1864, four men were executed in Brooks County for conspiring to plot a slave insurrection. The conspirators were a local white man, John Vickery, and three slaves: Nelson, George and Sam. They planned to seize weapons, secure the county seat, Quitman, […]

June 11, 1863

Burning of Darien

The burning of Darien, Georgia, depicted in the Civil War movie, Glory, was one of the most controversial acts of the War. Situated on the Atlantic coast, Darien thrived during the antebellum period as the shipping point for cotton, rice, and lumber. In June 1863, most of Darien’s 500 residents had already fled inland when […]

January 1, 1863

Emancipation Proclamation

Few presidential acts have had more impact upon the arc of history than the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on this day in 1863. It transformed a war for union into a crusade for human freedom. Emancipation had not initially been a U.S. war aim. As the Union death toll mounted however, support […]

September 20, 1863

Battle of Chickamauga

Only Gettysburg was bloodier than the Battle of Chickamauga that ended in northwest Georgia on this day in 1863.  Three months earlier, the Union Army had begun a strategy to capture Chattanooga, a major railroad hub and gateway to the Deep South.  General William Rosecrans' U.S. Army of the Cumberland, and General Braxton Bragg's Confederate […]

December 13, 1862

Battle of Fredericksburg

The defeat of Robert E. Lee at Antietam in September 1862 was a huge blow to Confederate morale. Confederates badly needed a boost and they got it at Fredericksburg, Virginia thanks to U.S General Ambrose Burnside. Burnside led his 120,000 men across the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in order to advance on the Confederate capital […]

February 22, 1862

Alexander Stephens

A vice presidency can be thankless at best. But when you don’t want the job, and you don’t get along with your president, it’s even worse. Georgia’s Alexander Stephens reluctantly supported secession in 1861. To his horror, he was elected Confederate vice president by the Provisional Congress, which hoped his election would persuade other Southern […]

January 3, 1861

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski was built by the U.S. Army to protect Savannah from attack, but no one ever dreamed that it would be attacked by the U.S. Army. The fort was built at the mouth of the Savannah River on Cockspur Island. Much of the early work was done by young Lieutenant Robert E. Lee, recently […]

January 7, 1861

Robert Toombs

He stood for saving the Union and he later zealously argued for secession, Robert Toombs was one of the most influential Georgians of the 19th century. Born in Wilkes County in 1810, Toombs served in the Georgia Legislature before being elected to four terms in the U.S. House and then the U.S. Senate. He was […]

July 21, 1861

Francis Bartow

Francis Bartow had it all—a law career, a senator for a father-in-law, wealth in plantations and slaves, political rank and military ambitions. But he risked it all on the battlefield and became the first high-ranking Georgian to be killed in the Civil War. Bartow was born in 1816 in Savannah. His marriage to the daughter […]

January 19, 1861

Georgia Secedes From Union

Georgia’s decision in 1861 to leave the United States had far-reaching and unintended consequences for all Georgians…and indeed all Southerners. Secession began after President Lincoln’s election in the belief that his Republican Party was aggressively anti-slavery. As the largest and most populous Deep South state, Georgia was crucial to the success of the secessionist movement. […]