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1752 Officially, this day did not exist in Georgia. See Sept. 3 entry for reason.
1816 Lawyer and politician Francis S. Bartow was born in Savannah, Georgia. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Bartow read law in Savannah and took classes at Yale Law School before returning to Savannah in 1837, where he was admitted to the bar. He served two terms in the Georgia House, and one term in the Georgia Senate. Until 1860, Bartow supported the Union. With the election of Lincoln, however, he became an ardent secessionist. As a captain the Oglethorpe Light Infantry – a Savannah militia unit – Bartow participated in the seizure of Fort Pulaski on January 3, 1861, two weeks before Georgia's secession convention met in Milledgeville. At that convention, Bartow was one of the most outspoken members calling for immediate withdrawal from the Union.
After secession, Bartow was elected to the Confederate Congress, though he resigned in May to take his militia unit to Virginia. The fact that the unit carried Georgia rifles out of the state greatly upset Gov. Joseph E. Brown, whose interest was arming a state army. On June 21, 1861, Bartow was promoted to the rank of colonel. On July 21, during the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), Bartow was rallying his troops to charge a Union artillery battery when he was shot through the heart. As he lay on the ground, Bartow reportedly told the soldiers who had gathered around him, "They have killed me boys, but never give up the field."
Bartow's body was returned to Savannah, where he was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery. In December 1861, the Georgia General Assembly renamed Cass County in Bartow's honor.
1839 Cherokees removed from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama form the Cherokee Nation West in the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.
1905 After buying the Atlanta Benevolent Protective Association from two ministers for $140, black Atlanta businessman Alonzo Herndon established the Atlanta Mutual Life Association, which later became the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.
Placed into duty on the following Dec. 24 (see Dec. 24, 1941 entry), the cruiser had a brief but distinguished record.
It and four other ships engaged a larger Japanese fleet in the Battle of Guadalcanal in Nov. 1942. During the battle, the Atlanta was hit be a torpedo and 50 shells from enemy guns. Nevertheless, its crew sank a Japanese destroyer and light cruiser before abandoning ship and sinking the vessel on Nov. 13. For their bravery, President Roosevelt honored the crew with a presidential citation.
1944 The Atlanta Journal ran an editorial condemning ordinances recently passed in Milledgeville and Newnan (see Sept. 5, 1944 entry) levying high fees on union organizers, claiming they violated the right of free speech
1958 Television and stage comedian Jeff Foxworthy was born in Atlanta. He becomes famous for his humor about the South, especially his "You might be a redneck if. . . " jokes.
1976 Jimmy Carter, who earlier had launched his 1976 presidential campaign at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, returned on this day to kick off the final phase of his campaign with a gala at the Little White House.
1980 The University of Georgia opened its national championship football season by visiting the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn. before the largest crowd (to that time) to ever see a college football game in the South. Little was expected of the Bulldogs after their disappointing 6-5 season in 1979. And indeed things did not start very well. Tennessee controlled the game for the first half and well into the third quarter, building a 15-0 lead. Then Tennessee safety Bill Bates fumbled a punt after a vicious hit; both teams scrambled for the ball but neither could control it as it went through the end zone for a safety making the score 15-2. Seeking a way to jump start his sluggish offense, Georgia Coach Vince Dooley inserted freshman running back Herschel Walker into the lineup.
After a pass play moved the ball to the Tennessee sixteen yard line, Walker took a pitch out and exhibited his amazing grace and power. Deftly splitting two defenders he met Bill Bates just inside the ten yard line and proceeded to run over him on the way to scoring a touchdown. (Ironically, Walker and Bates would eventually be teammates on the professional Dallas Cowboys). Still trailing 15-9, the inspired Georgia defense held Tennessee and returned the ball to Herschel Walker.
Driving to the six yard line, the freshman sensation showed his speed by taking a pitch and outrunning blitzing Tennessee linebackers to the corner of the end zone. The extra point kick put Georgia ahead 16-15. Tennessee mounted a late challenge by driving to the Georgia four yard line, where the ball was stripped from a running back and recovered by Georgia. Walker's exploits earned him national notoriety and this big come from behind win propelled Georgia to an undefeated season and a national championship.
1989 The Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (Italy's main bank) announced that someone at its Atlanta branch had defrauded the financial institution of over $2.6 billion.
1997 At Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, U.S. Secretary of the Navy John Dalton and sponsor Patricia O'Keefe, were joined by 5,000 guests for official commissioning ceremonies of the U.S.S. Louisiana. The 18th and final vessel in the nation's fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines, the Louisiana was given the motto "They saved he best for last" by its crew.
Weighing 18,750 tons, the Louisiana is 560 feet from bow to stern – almost the length of two football fields – making it the largest of all Tridents. It is also packs the most power – with 24 Trident II D-5 missiles, each able to carry eight nuclear warheads.
1998 For the first time since severely damaged by a hurricane in 1898, the 80-foot-tall Sapelo Island Lighthouse was turned on.
Originally constructed in 1820, the lighthouse – which served ships destined for the port at Darien became part of a chain of 15 lighthouses that dotted Georgia's coast. Now, it joined the Tybee and St. Simons lighthouses as three functioning navigation beacons along the coast of Georgia. The restoration of the Sapelo Island lighthouse took eight months and cost $500,000.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1862 In his diary, Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards recorded his belief that no matter what happened on the battlefield, southern states would never return to the Union:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), pp. 535.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed back to back editorials, one calling for immediate reinforcements of Confederate troops trying to defend Georgia, the second calling for parole of Northern prisoners being held in Georgia.
1882 One of Gertrude Thomas's sons – Turner – ran for the state legislature in Richmond County, but was defeated. The loss seems to have bothered his parents more than it did Turner:
Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 424-425.
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