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, […]

August 14, 1900

Dutchy — Confederate Monument in Elberton

On August 14, 1900, cloaked in darkness, a group of Elberton citizens toppled the town’s Civil War monument. The next day, they buried it. These were not anti–Confederate activists. On the contrary, Elberton, like many Southern towns in the 1890s, wanted to honor the lost cause. It also wanted to promote its new granite industry […]

August 15, 1864

First Black Soldiers in Combat in Georgia

It was the first time that African-American soldiers fought in the Civil War in Georgia. On this day in 1864, the 14th United States Colored Troops, mostly former slaves, fought off a Confederate cavalry attack near Dalton. Later, the 44th U.S. Colored troops were protecting the railroad through Dalton. Confederate General John Bell Hood attacked, […]

August 16, 1888

John Stith Pemberton

He created the pause that refreshes. John Stith Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia in 1831 and grew up in Rome. In 1850, he graduated from a College of Herbal Medicine in Macon and then went to pharmacy school in Philadelphia. Returning to Georgia, Pemberton set up shop as a druggist in Columbus. During the […]

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 […]

July 22, 1864

Battle of Atlanta

General William Sherman and his army were set to take Atlanta in July, 1864. General Joseph Johnston’s Confederate army had fought them since May. But they could only slow Sherman down, not stop him. The citizens of the Confederacy’s major railroad hub were justifiably worried. So was Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Fearing Atlanta would fall […]

July 13, 1890

John C. Fremont

Abraham Lincoln was not the first Republican presidential candidate. It was Georgia native John Frémont who ran four years before Lincoln. Born in Savannah in 1813, Fremont graduated from the College of Charleston. South Carolina diplomat Joel Poinsett got Fremont appointed to the Army’s topographical engineers, and his life’s work was set. Fremont surveyed and […]

June 23, 1865

Stand Watie

He was the highest-ranking Native American to fight for the Confederacy, but years before the Civil War, Stand Watie was nearly assassinated by fellow Cherokees for what they saw as betrayal. Watie was born near New Echota, in Georgia, in 1806. That’s the same place where he and three other Cherokees signed the Treaty of […]

June 27, 1864

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Since early May 1864 U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman had been moving south from Tennessee toward Atlanta, with Joe Johnston’s Confederates blocking his path. Every flanking move Sherman made, Johnston countered, frustrating Sherman’s plans. Finally, Sherman’s patience snapped. No more flanking. He would attack Johnston head on and destroy his army. It would be the […]

June 15, 1826

Bill Arp

Missouri has Mark Twain. Georgia has Bill Arp, the pen name for Charles Henry Smith. Born in Lawrenceville in 1826, Smith moved to Rome in 1851 to practice law. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, Smith wrote a letter under the pen name “Bill Arp” to President Lincoln in the humorous dialect favored by […]