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1814 Henry Lewis Benning was born in Columbia County, Georgia. After graduation from the University of Georgia in 1834, Benning read law in Talbotton before being admitted to the bar in Columbus in 1835. Practicing law, he became both successful and wealthy – owning over 3,000 acres of land and 89 slaves. After unsuccessful races for the General Assembly and Congress, the legislature elected Benning to the Georgia Supreme Court (1853-59). A strong proponent of states rights, Benning urged Georgia's secession after the election of Lincoln. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Benning raised the 17th Georgia Infantry, in which he was elected colonel in Aug. 1861. Following the battles of Seven Days and Second Manassas, Benning commanded Toombs' brigade and Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. In January 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of his own brigade in Hood's Division, which fought at Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Knoxville. In Field's Division, his brigade fought in the Wilderness, Petersburg, and at Appomattox.
After the war, Benning resumed the practice of law in Columbus, where he died on July 8, 1875. After the outbreak of World War I, the U.S. Army created a new military post in Columbus and named it Camp Benning in honor of Gen. Benning.
In 1922, the camp was redesignated Fort Benning.
1833 Georgia military governor Gen. Thomas H. Ruger was born in New York. During Reconstruction, Gen. Meade had removed Georgia governor Charles Jones Jenkins. On Jan. 13, 1868, Meade named Gen. Ruger to serve as acting governor of Georgia. Ruger served as chief executive until July 4, 1868, when newly elected Republican governor Rufus Bullock was sworn into office. Ruger then resumed his military career in the U.S. Army. He died June 3, 1907.
1865 The Confederate Government abandoned the Confederacy's capital city of Richmond, Va.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1936 A tornado in Cordele killed 23 people and destroyed 289 buildings.
1983 The University of Georgia became the first college to qualify both men's and women's basketball teams to the Final Four in the same year.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: Mills Lane (ed.). General Oglethorpe Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743, Vol. I (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 40-41.
1838 From Rossville, Thomas G. MacFarland wrote Gov. George Gilmer about the status of the Cherokee Indian removal from Georgia:
Source: Edward J. Cashin (ed.), A Wilderness Still the Cradle of Nature: Frontier Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1994), p. 232.
1865 After a three-month visit with their older sister on a plantation near Albany, Ga., 24-year-old Eliza Frances Andrews and her younger sister Metta, prepared to return to their parents home in Washington, Ga. As Eliza Andrews recorded in her journal, this was the end of an era:
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl: 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 127-128.
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