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1732 James Oglethorpe set out in a carriage from London for Gravesend, a Thames River port about twenty miles down river from London. He carried a few personal belongings – certainly a sword – but most of what he and the colonists would need in the new colony had been sent ahead to be loaded aboard the Anne.
1815 Politician, farmer, and patriot Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, Georgia (some sources cite Nov. 16). Heard was one of the leaders of the Georgia backcountry Whig faction that supported the patriot cause in the American Revolution.
He fought under Elijah Clarke at the Battle of Kettle Creek in which the Tory forces were surprised and forced to retreat. But the British eventually occupied Augusta and Heard suffered under their rule. His wife and daughter were driven from their home in winter and died from exposure. Heard himself was captured and held prisoner in Augusta. After he managed to escape (family legend has it that he was rescued by a female slave). Heard served on the Executive Council, which ruled Georgia (at least in name) during a significant portion of the American Revolution. He was council president from 1780 to 1781 – making him in essence Georgia's chief executive during that time. During a portion of this time, Georgia's government met at Heard's Fort, a fortification located eight miles from the present day city of Washington, Georgia. After the Revolution, Heard served four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives, as justice of the Elbert County court, and as a delegate to the Georgia constitutional convention in 1795.
Heard eventually married again and became a prosperous farmer, having received many grants of land as rewards for his public service. Most of this land was in Elbert County, where he helped select the site of the county seat – Elberton. Here he built Heardmont, considered the most attractive house north of Augusta in its day. Heard died at his home on November 15, 1815. The Georgia General Assembly named a county in his honor December 22, 1830.
1859 Politician George R. Gilmer died in Lexington, Georgia. Born April 11, 1790 in what was then Wilkes (later Oglethorpe) County, Gilmer was educated at the academy of Moses Waddel (who later served as president of the University of Georgia). Gilmer studied law until the War of 1812, when he led an expedition against the Creek Indians. After the war, he returned to Oglethorpe County, where in 1818 he began the practice of law. That year, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1820, Gilmer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but poor health led him not to seek reelection. Back in the Georgia legislature by 1824, Gilmer was again elected to Congress in 1827 to fill the seat of Edward Tattnall. Gilmer was reelected in 1828, but because he failed to signify his acceptance within the time provided by law, he seat was declared vacant. The next year,Gilmer was elected Georgia governor to one two-year term (1829-31). In Dec. 1832, the General Assembly created Gilmer County out of land in Cherokee territory now claimed by Georgia.
Gilmer took office as governor in the midst of a gold rush, following the discovery of gold on the eastern boundary of the Cherokee Nation in 1828. Gilmer was a staunch believer in states' rights with respect to Indians living in Georgia, so the Georgia legislature passed a law extending state law to all of the Cherokee Nation that was situated in Georgia. Furthermore, all whites residing in Cherokee territory were required to sign an oath to obey Georgia law. After several white missionaries were arrested for not signing the oath, Georgia's actions were challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court – which ruled against Georgia (Cherokee Nation v. Georgia). But Gilmer defied the rulings and continued to work for the removal of the remaining Georgia Cherokees. In 1836, he was elected to a second term as governor (1837-39), and it was during his administration that the tragic Trail of Tears took place. After his term as governor, Gilmer retired from public life and returned to Lexington, Ga. Subsequently he authored his memoir, Sketches of Some of the First Settlers of Upper Georgia, and served on the board of trustees of the University of Georgia.
Following his death, Gilmer was buried in the Lexington Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Lexington, Georgia.
1864 Early this morning, the bulk of Sherman's forces departed Atlanta to begin what would be known as the March to the Sea. The Union Army was divided into two wings. The right (or western) wing was commanded by Maj. Gen. Oliver Howard and consisted of the 15th and 17th Corps plus Kilpatrick's cavalry division.
Howard's wing marched southward out of Atlanta following the Macon & Western Railroad to White Hall, just south of the city, where they split. The 15th Corps would take the road to Jonesboro, and from there proceed to McDonough, Jackson, Clinton, and then reunite in seven days with the 17th Corps at Gordon (located south of Milledgeville). The planned route for the 17th Corps was to march from White Hall to Stockbridge, McDonough, Jackson, Monticello, and Gordon. Just north of Stockbridge, however, the 17th encountered several Confederate regiments that were part of the "Kentucky Orphan Brigade" (so-called because Kentucky had not seceded, which left Confederate units from that state as "orphans."). A brief engagement followed (sometimes designated as the Battle of Stockbridge). Greatly outnumbered, the Kentuckians temporarily blocked the Union advance – but they were soon outflanked and forced to retreat. To the west, one or two Kentucky regiments engaged the 15th Corps in another skirmish – but with no better results. The two Union columns camped for the night, ready to continue their March to the Sea the next morning.
Meanwhile, earlier that morning, Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum had led the 20th Corps eastward out of Atlanta with instructions to follow the Georgia Railroad eastward to Decatur, Lithonia, Covington, and Madison, tearing up the railroad along the way.
Slocum's forces were supposed to burn the railroad bridge over the Oconee River east of Madison, and then proceed southward to Georgia's capital city of Milledgeville.
With three of his four columns on the road, Gen. Sherman remained in Atlanta with the 14th corps to oversee the destruction of anything with possible military value to the Confederacy.
The next day, they would then proceed east on the road to Lithonia, then in a southeastern direction to Milledgeville, where the 20th and 14th corps would reunite in seven days.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1980 Ranked number one in the national polls, the Georgia Bulldogs faced a critical game with Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Since playing their first game in 1892, the Georgia-Auburn game had developed into the longest football rivalry in the Deep South. In addition to Georgia's national ranking being on the line, the game took additional significance, as Auburn was Georgia head coach Vince Dooley's alma mater. In this year's game, Auburn took an early lead, but Georgia regained the momentum with a blocked punt which was returned for a touchdown. Auburn keyed their defensive efforts on Herschel Walker all day and held him to 84 rushing yards. But Bulldog quarterback Buck Belue took up the slack, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown himself, while passing for 99 yards and another touchdown. Walker wasn't kept down the entire game – he iced Georgia's victory with an 18-yard touchdown run in which he reversed his field after seemingly being stopped for a loss. The 31-21 win clinched the Southeastern Conference championship for Georgia and left them with a 10-0 record, the final regular season game to be played against in-state rival Georgia Tech.
1998 Playing before a packed
crowd in the Georgia Dome, the Atlanta Falcons beat the San Francisco '49ers
by a score of 31-19. The win pushed the Falcons' season record to 8-2, extending
the record for best start in franchise history set the previous week.
2005 Georgian Bill Anderson won the song writing award at the annual Country Music Association Awards presentation, for the song "Whiskey Lullaby."
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1733 Nine months after arriving with Georgia's first colonists, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees about unanticipated expenses he was facing during the colony's first year. Oglethorpe also revealed the fact that he did not plan a lengthy stay in Georgia:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 26.
1861 From Camp Marion, Va., Samuel Burney of Cobb's Legion wrote to his wife back in Georgia of a sad event--Confederates unknowingly firing on Confederates:
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), p. 86.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 From her plantation near Covington, Ga., Dolly Lunt Burge wrote in her journal:
1864 On this evening in Atlanta, Henry Hitchcock (Sherman's military secretary) recorded in his diary:
Source: M.A. DeWolfe Howe (ed.), Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 56-57.
1865 From DeKalb County, Martha A. Quillin wrote a poignant letter to her cousin, Sarah Quillan in Illinois, of the damage done by Sherman's forces on this day in 1864 to her neighbors. Even though her home was spared, her contempt for Yankees was not:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Its Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of original 1954 volume), pp. 694-695.
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