Tag Archives: The Civil War in North Georgia

Iron Springs Clubhouse, Butts County

This served for many years as the gathering place for the people of the Iron Springs community. The area is rich in history, as a historical marker placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1957 notes: On the night of Nov. 17, 1864, the Right Wing (15th and 17th Corps) of General Sherman’s army, which had marched south from Atlanta on Nov 15th on its destructive March to the sea, reached Jackson and camped in and around the town, Hq. Right Wing. Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard, USA, and the headquarters of both corps were established in Jackson. Elements of the 17th Corps (Blair) moved forward to iron springs and camped here on the road to Planter’s Factory (Ocmulgee Mills) at Seven Islands (5 miles SE), the point which had been selected for the passage of the Right Wing, camped near Worthville (7 miles NW). That night the 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry seized the ferry at Seven Islands and secured both banks of the river for the passage. Next morning, the 1st Missouri Engineers passed through Iron Springs with the pontoons and, by 1:00 P.M., two bridges were ready and crossing operations had begun. Late that night, the 17th Corps having cleared Iron Springs, the Artillery Brigade arrived and went into camp. Although both bridges were in use day and night, heavy rains had made the roads so difficult that the passage was not completed until the afternoon of the 20th.

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Filed under --BUTTS COUNTY GA--

Mills House, Circa 1855, Griffin

Also known as the Lewis-Mills House, this grand Greek Revival was built for the Lewis family, who came to the South from Massachusetts. Mrs. Emily W. Lewis was living in the house with her granddaughter, Lavonia Hammond, during the Civil War. Lavonia recalled that the house served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers and hosted Alexander H. Stephens, Robert Toombs, and Benjamin Harvey Hill, all good friends of her father. In 1878, Lavonia married John B. Mills and they resided in the house with Lavonia’s grandmother. When Mrs. Lewis died in 1901, John Mills purchased the house from his wife’s siblings. When Lavonia Hammond Mills died in 1936, the house passed out of the family’s hands. It had numerous owners in subsequent years and was eventually subdivided into apartments. After falling into disrepair it was restored and is now the office of a law firm.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --SPALDING COUNTY GA--, Griffin GA

Civil War Memorials, Palmetto

The marker placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1956 notes: The Army of Tennessee [Confederate] abandoned Atlanta Sept. 2, 1864, moved to Lovejoy, then to Palmetto, Sept. 19. Most of the Army entrenched 3 miles N. Gen. John B. Hood had headquarters here from Sept. 19 to 29, 1864. Pres. Jefferson Davis visited here Sept. 25th and on the 26th made a speech to the troops 3 miles N. where he was serenaded by the 20th Louisiana Ban. That same night Gen. Howell Cobb and Gov. Isham Harris of Tenn. spoke. On the 27th Pres. Davis left for Montgomery. Gen. Hardee was relieved of his command here, Sept. 28, and on the 29th Gen. Hood moved from here to start the disastrous Tennessee Campaign.

The obelisk was placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906 to honor Company C, 19th Georgia Infantry and Company I, 2nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteers, Wheeler’s Cavalry.

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Filed under --FULTON COUNTY GA--, Palmetto GA

Cobb-Bucknell-Leathers House, Circa 1849, Athens

One of the most prominent politicians of 19th-century Georgia, Howell Cobb (1815-1868) lived here while Governor of Georgia, a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, Secretary of the Treasury, and Confederate General. It was here that the Articles of Confederation were read to a crowd of onlookers in 1861 and where federal troops arrested Cobb.

Cobbham Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --CLARKE COUNTY GA--, Athens GA

Chennault House, 1850s, Lincoln County

Tax records indicate that Abraham D. Chennault likely had this house built circa 1857-58; land in the vicinity had been occupied by his family since the 1820s. It is thought to be the work of John Cunningham, a local carpenter linked to three other prominent houses in the immediate area. When his mother died (mid-1860s) Abraham left Lincoln County and transferred the lands and house to his brother John N. Chennault. It remained within the family well into the 20th century.

The house has always been linked to an infamous ending chapter of the Civil War. As the Confederate cabinet and other high officials were fleeing Richmond, they carried with them the bulk of the Confederate treasury. Almost all of the assets were dispersed to pay soldiers, before the capture of Jefferson Davis at Irwinville on 10 May 1865. Remaining funds were left in Washington, Georgia.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia notes: A detachment of Union soldiers set out to divert this specie to a railhead in South Carolina. The wagons stopped for the night at the Chennault Plantation and it was here that on 24 May 24 1865, bandits attacked the wagons and $251,029 was lost. Bank officials eventually recovered some $111,000 of the stolen money. Union General Edward A. Wild led a search of the area for more gold and earned notoriety for the arrest and torture of the Chennault family, who Wild believed were hiding gold but who turned out to be innocent. As a consequence, Union General Ulysses S. Grant removed Wild from his command.

In the century-and-a-half since the end of the Civil War, historians and fortune-seekers alike have sought the lost Confederate gold. Where it is or whether it even remains will always be Georgia legend.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --LINCOLN COUNTY GA--, Chennault GA

Cannonball House, 1853, Macon

Also known as the Judge Asa Holt House, for its first owner, the Cannonball House is one of Macon’s most popular historic sites. It’s believed to have been designed and built by Elam Alexander, prominent builder/architect of antebellum Macon, though there isn’t consensus on this claim. Of numerous outbuildings once present on the property, a brick kitchen and servants’ quarters remain.

The house received its name after being struck by a cannonball during the Battle of Dunlap Hill on 30 July 1864. Lore suggests that forces under the command of Union General George Stoneman were attempting to strike the nearby Hay House but miscalculated. The ball struck the sand sidewalk in front of the house, passed through the second column from the left of the gallery and entered the parlor over a window, landing unexploded in the hallway. Mrs. Holt displayed the cannonball on her dining room table until giving it to the Macon Volunteers in defense of the city. Judge Holt’s descendants lived in the house until 1963.

It’s operated today as a house museum by the Friends of the Cannonball House.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA

Gordon-Lee Mansion, 1847, Chickamauga

James Gordon and his two brothers came to Chickamauga, then known as Crawfish Springs, from Gwinnett County in 1836.  In 1840, James began construction of this home (employing slave labor and using bricks made on site) to serve as the centerpiece of his 2500-acre plantation. The site was of local importance, as the Cherokee Courthouse was located on the grounds prior to displacement. [It was originally executed in the Greek Revival style; the addition of the massive portico and entablature in a 1900 remodel gave it its present Neoclassical appearance].

Gordon’s son Clark was elected commanding officer of Company D, First Georgia Volunteer Infantry, organized in 1862. During the Battle of Chickamauga the home served as temporary headquarters of Union Major General William Rosecrans, Army of the Cumberland (16-19 September 1863). It also served as a field hospital (18-20 September 1863) under the command of Medical Surgeon R. G. Bogue, treating both Union and Confederate casualties. In 1889, 14,000 veterans of the battle held a reunion on the grounds known as the Blue-Gray Barbeque. The idea to establish the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park had its origins at the barbeque, significantly the first Civil War park in the United States to be protected through preservation.

Upon the death of James and Sarah Gordon, the home passed to their daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, James Lee. The next owner was their son, Gordon Lee, a United States Congressman (1904-1927), and his wife, Olive. Lee stipulated in his will that if no family member took on the property for twenty years that it would become the property of the City of Chickamauga and this happened in 1947.  It was sold to Dr. Frank Green in 1974. Dr. Green restored the house and grounds with great attention to historical accuracy. In 2007 it was purchased by the City of Chickamauga, which now operates a museum on the site.

This saddlebag house is the last surviving of six slave dwellings on the property.

Even if you don’t have the time to visit all the Civil War sites in the area, take the time to walk the wonderful grounds of the Gordon-Lee Mansion. Operated by the Friends of the Gordon-Lee Mansion in conjunction with the City of Chickamauga, it’s a wonderful green space and historic site.

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

 

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Filed under --WALKER COUNTY GA--, Chickamauga GA