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1794 Gov. George Mathews issued a proclamation commanding judges, sheriffs, and citizens to assist in the apprehension of Gen. Elijah Clarke and his followers for illegally settling on Indian lands west of the Oconee River, calling it the Trans-Oconee Republic.
1825 Confederate Gen. William Duncan Smith was born in Augusta, Georgia. He attended West Point, where he graduated in 1846. During the Mexican War, Smith was assigned to garrison duty. In Jan. 1861, he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and in March 1861 became a captain, and in July a colonel, in the 20th Georgia Infantry. In March 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general in command of the District of South Carolina. On Oct. 4, 1862, Smith died of yellow fever in Secessionville, S.C.
1864 Sherman's Army of the Tennessee was now in place along a rural road west of Atlanta that lead to Ezra Methodist Church. They were ready to advance on ground that Hood has vowed that Confederate generals Stephen D. Lee and A.P. Stewart should not give up. Just after noon, the Battle of Ezra Church began. Unfortunately, the Confederates had but three divisions to face the 15th, 16th, and 17th Corps of the Army of the Tennessee. Moreover, command blunders for the Confederates meant their attacks were never coordinated. Despite bravery in the face of death, the Confederates withdrew from the battlefield with terrible loses--3,000 dead and wounded compared to less than 600 for Federal troops.
Hood had been under intense pressure from Richmond to produce a victory, but now it was becoming clear that he could not continue to engage the enemy with these types of loses.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1913 One of Georgia's most famous – and in many ways, most infamous – trials of the century began in superior court in the Fulton County Courthouse.
Here, Leo Frank was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 14-year-old Mary Phagan. Given prevalent prejudices of the time in the South, Frank began the trial with two strikes against him – he was Jewish and he was from New York. As the trial began, a jury was quickly selected and seated. The first witness called was Mrs. J.W. Coleman, Mary Phagan's mother. She managed to stay collected during most of her testimony but finally broke down in tears when asked to identify the clothes her daughter had worn on the day she was murdered. Next on the stand was George Epps, a thirteen-year-old boy who also worked at the National Pencil Factory, where Frank was supervisor. Epps had ridden the streetcar with Phagan the morning of April 26th, and the two had agreed to meet for an ice cream and to watch the Confederate Memorial Day Parade at 1:00 p.m. When Mary didn't show, Epps went to a baseball game. The final witness on this day was Newt Lee, the night watchman who discovered Mary Phagan's body and telephoned police. He testified for over two hours, telling the same story he had told police – that he noticed the body when he went into the basement to the restroom. He also told of Leo Frank being nervous because of the presence of John Gantt, who had been recently dismissed from the factory. That night, Frank called Lee to ask if everything was all right, an unusual practice for him. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1992 Georgia swimmer Angel Martino won the first gold medal of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
1994 The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the "The General," the locomotive stolen by Andrews' Raiders in 1862 that led to what became known as "The Great Locomotive Chase" on Georgia's Western & Atlantic Railroad. Click here to read more about the stamp and here to read about the story of the General.
1996 This was tenth day of the 1996 Summer Olympics – and day 9 of Olympic competition. On this day, U.S. track star Carl Lewis set an Olympic record by winning his ninth gold medal in the long jump.
Other U.S. gold medal winners were Charles Austin in the men's high jump and the U.S. team in men's beach volleyball. Click here for a summary of medals awarded during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
In Athens, Georgia, Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia had been reconfigured for Olympic soccer. Because soccer needs a wider field than American football, Sanford Stadium's famous hedges that surround the football field had been removed.
In the semi-final rounds of women's soccer played on this day, China beat Brazil, and the U.S. defeated Norway, setting up the women's gold medal round between China and the U.S. on Aug. 1.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1742 William Stephens described an unknown malady afflicting the Georgia colonists:
Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1741-1743 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), p. 114.
1861 From Manassas, Va., W.B.C. Coker wrote to his brother back in Georgia about the Confederate victory at the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run):
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. 39-40.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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