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1818 Confederate general Jeremy Francis Gilmer was born in Guilford City, N.C. He graduated from West Point in 1839 and served as an officer in the engineer corps. In June 1861, Gilmer resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army as a lieutenant colonel. He served as chief engineer to Gen. Albert S. Johnston. Subsequently, Gilmer became chief engineer for the Department of Northern Virginia and head of the Confederate Bureau of Engineers. In Aug. 1863, he was promoted to major general.
Gilmer was responsible for helping plan the defense of Charleston, Atlanta, and Savannah. After the war, he became a civil engineer. Gilmer died Dec. 1, 1883 in Savannah
1838 Confederate general Gilbert Moxley Sorrel was born in Savannah, Georgia. He became a bank clerk and served as a private in a Savannah militia unit. On Jan. 3, 1861, Sorrell took part in the seizure of Ft. Pulaski by local militia. Subsequently, he served as a captain on the staff of Gen. James Longstreet at the Battle of First Manassas. Sorrel served under Longstreet during all of his battles. In Oct. 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general and commanded his own brigade in Mahone's division at Petersburg and Hatcher's Run.
After the war, Sorrell became a merchant and steamship executive. He died Aug. 10, 1901 in Roanoke, Va.
1861 In a special election,Texas voters ratified the Feb. 1 vote to secede by a statewide convention. Texas thus became the 7th southern state to secede from the Union.
1868 Sociologist, author, and pioneering civil rights activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1895.
For almost 25 years, Du Bois taught and wrote as a faculty member at Atlanta University, later recalling that it was this period where he developed many of his thoughts and beliefs on black equality. He is probably best remembered for helping organize the Niagara Movement in 1905 and for co-founding the NAACP four years later. Later in life, Du Bois became bitter about the progress of civil rights in America. In 1961, he openly embraced communism and moved to Ghana, where he renounced his U.S. citizenship. Du Bois died in Accra, Ghana on Aug. 27, 1963 at age 95.
1976 In recognition of the American Revolution Bicentennial, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 different stamps showing the flags of all 50 states.
The primary first day of issue ceremonies for the flag stamps were held in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, first day of issue ceremonies were also held in Atlanta and the other state capitals.
For more information on the state flag stamps, click here.
1983 After having won the Heisman Trophy and being courted to play professional football, University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker announced he was going to skip his senior year with the Bulldogs to play professional football for the New Jersey Generals of the new U.S. Football League. Walker would sign a 3-year contract for $5 million.
1994 Actress Dakota Fanning was born in Conyers, Georgia.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved by the governor on Feb. 23:
1875 Baxley (Appling County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1862 Theodore Montfort was one of the Confederate defenders of Fort Pulaski, located on an island near the mouth of the Savannah River. Eleven days after writing a his wife expressing confidence that the fort could not be taken, Theodore Montfort wrote again. He was still optimistic -- but a bit more somber:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 149.
1862 From Morganton, Ga., M. Greenwood wrote Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown about a major problem with moonshining in Fannin County:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 155.
1947 In this day's column in the Atlanta Constitution, writer and future editor Ralph McGill offered his opinion on whether truth or objectivity is the better goal for a newspaper:
Source: Michael Strickland, Harry Davis, and Jeff Strickland (comp.), The Best of Ralph McGill, Selected Columns (Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Company, 1980), pp. 206-207.
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