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1742 Near the Spanish encampment on the south end of St. Simons Island, Gen. James Oglethorpe was in a dilemma.
The night before, a Frenchman accompanying Oglethorpe's regiment had deserted to Spanish forces, thus foiling what would have been a surprise attack by the British. (As it turned out, the deserter was actually a spy hired by Gov. Manuel de Montiano, who was leading the Spanish invasion force.) Realizing that the deserter by now had revealed that the island's defenders were far outnumbered by the Spaniards, Oglethorpe tried a trick. He wrote an alleged note to the deserter in French and instructed him to mislead Montiano by telling him that Oglethorpe only had a small force to defend the island. The note further directed the deserter to lead Spanish forces up the river. Oglethorpe then freed a Spanish prisoner and paid him to take the note to the deserter. On reaching Spanish lines, the prisoner was stopped and taken to Montiano. There he was questioned and searched, and the note was found. Montiano now didn't know what to believe. Fearing that the deserter was actually a double agent, Montiano decided to call off the invasion and ordered his troops to get ready to board ships to return to St. Augustine.
1863 Shortly after the surrender of Vicksburg, Confederate Maj. Gen. John Stevens Bowen died from dysentery in Raymond, Miss. Born in Savannah on Oct. 30, 1829, Bowen attended school in Milledgeville before obtaining an appointment to West Point at age 18. After graduation and a tour of duty in Texas, Bowen resigned his commission and returned to Georgia to become an architect. When that didn't work out, he returned to St. Louis, where he had been stationed before going to Texas. By 1859, he had a comfortable life, also serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Missouri Volunteer Militia. In 1860, the militia was called out in response to raids by Kansas abolitionists.
After the secession of southern states, Bowen began recruiting Missourians for Confederate service. He assembled ten companies from eastern Missouri and took them to Richmond, Va., where he was commissioned as a colonel, and his regiment of volunteers was designated the First Missouri Infantry. In March 1862, Bowen was promoted to brigadier general. He was later wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, but he rejoined his brigade in Corinth, Miss. in early April. In the spring of 1863, Bowen's brigade took part in the defense of Vicksburg. During the siege, Bowen was promoted to major general, but also caught dysentery. His health declined rapidly after the surrender, and he died days later on July 13.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 Confederate chief-of-staff Gen. Braxton Bragg arrived in Atlanta for the stated purpose of making an inspection.
In reality, Pres. Jefferson Davis had sent Bragg to make a personal report to Davis about whether Gen. Joseph E. Johnston should continue to command Confederate forces facing Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Since Sherman's forces had entered Georgia and begun the Atlanta Campaign, Johnston had continued to retreat towards Atlanta, leaving Davis to lose confidence in Johnston's strategy and willingness to fight.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1865 Georgia's provisional governor James Johnson issued a proclamation abolishing slavery and calling for an October election to elect delegates to a constitutional convention in late October.
1890 Military officer, explorer, and politician John Fremont died in New York City at age 76.
Born in Savannah, Ga., on Jan. 21, 1813, Fremont was educated at Charleston College. As an officer in the U.S. Army Topographical Corps, he surveyed the Carolina mountains. In the 1840s and early '50s, Fremont's explorations of the West made him nationally famous and helped launch a political career. Fremont served as U.S. Senator from California (1850-51), later becoming the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party in 1856. He carried 11 states but lost the election. During the Civil War, Fremont served as a Union Army officer. Later, he served as governor of the Arizona Territory.
1906 Gov. Joseph Terrell signed legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to create a new county to be named Ben Hill (after former U.S. and Confederate senator Benjamin Hill). Because there were 145 counties then in existence – which was the maximum allowed by the state constitution [see July 19 entry] – creation of any additional countries required a constitutional amendment to either change the 145-county limit or to leave the limit unchanged but provide an exception to the limit. Georgia voters ratified the amendment the following November 6. Gov. Terrell's approval of the constitutional amendment creating Ben Hill County despite the constitution's stated limit of 145 counties is significant because it set a precedent that would be followed 15 times before the Constitution of 1945 placed an absolute limit of 159 counties.
2010 In Major League Baseball's 2010 All-Star Game, played in Anaheim, California, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann was named Most Valuable Player. With two outs in the seventh inning, McCann hit a three-run double to propel the National League to its first victory (by a score of 3-1) in the annual All-Star game since 1996. This marked only the second time in history that a Brave was an All-Star MVP – an honor Fred McGriff first won in 1994. Since being called up by the Braves in 2005, McCann has been selected for the MLB All-Star Game five times in his first six seasons.
In addition to playing for the Braves, McCann has lengthy Georgia ties. He was born in Athens on Feb. 20, 1984. His father, Howard McCann, was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Georgia from 1982 to 1989. The older McCann left Georgia to become head baseball coach at Marshall University. He left Marshall to found the Windwood Baseball Academy in Alpharetta. Brian graduated from Duluth High School in 2002 and was drafted in the second round by the Braves. He continues to make Duluth his home.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1741-1743 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), p. 108.
1838 Daniel Buttrick, a missionary to the Cherokee Indians, recorded in his diary events he witnessed and heard about during the forced removal of the Cherokees to the West. On this day he recorded:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 85.
1864 From north of Atlanta, Confederate soldier William Dickey wrote to his wife:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), "Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 314-315.
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