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1863 The Battle of Chickamauga began marking the first major engagement between Confederate and Union troops in Georgia.
Twelve days earlier, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg had been forced to pull his Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga. They had retreated to a point on the W&A Railroad near Ringgold, Georgia. Union Gen. William Rosecrans' Army of the Cumberland had pursued Bragg. After some skirmishes on the 18th, the two sides engaged in a major battle at Chickamauga Creek (which ironically was a Cherokee name that means either "River of Death" or "River of Blood"). Despite heavy losses on both sides, the first day's results were inconclusive.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1868 Philip Joiner, a black representative expelled from the Georgia General Assembly and other local Republican leaders in Albany led a 30-mile march of several hundred African Americans and a few whites to Camilla to attend a Republican political rally. However, some white Mitchell County residents were determined that the rally would not occur. As the marchers entered the courthouse square in Camilla, whites opened fire, killing at least thirteen of the marchers and wounding nearly forty. News of the Camilla Massacre flashed over telegraph wires and was reported in newspapers across the nation.
Both Republicans and Democrats used the massacre to fortify their positions on Reconstruction in the 1868 presidential campaign. [For more information, see the Digital Library of Georgia's page on the Civil Unrest in Camilla.]
1889 Prior to this day, there was no law in Georgia prohibiting the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to children.
That changed when Gov. John B. Gordon signed an act of the General Assembly prohibiting the sale or provision of cigarettes, tobacco, or cigarette paper to minors. As written, the bill included all forms of tobacco, which meant that it was now illegal for boys to use snuff and chewing tobacco – a common practice in rural areas. Opposition to this fact led the General Assembly to amend the law to only prohibit "cigarette tobacco" in a law signed by Gov. Gordon on Nov. 4, 1889. Interestingly, an amazing number of Southerners believed that smoking was a sin – but felt there was nothing wrong with using snuff or chewing tobacco. As a result, many men and women in the South – particularly in rural areas– used smokeless tobacco.
1895 Dedication ceremonies were held for the Chickamauga National Battlefield in extreme northwest Georgia. Because thousands of Civil War veterans were expected to attend that event, organizers of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta designated Sept. 21st as Blue and Gray Day.
1900 Chancellor Walter Bernard Hill conducted opening exercises at the University of Georgia by noting this was the centennial of the University's first graduating class.
Actually, Chancellor Hill didn't have the correct facts. The University was chartered by the General Assembly in 1785, but at that time its future campus was located on Cherokee land. It was not until 1801 that classes actually began and 1804 that the first nine students graduated.
1928 Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs, Georgia for his fourteenth visit to his "second home." On this trip he would finally be persuaded to run for the governorship of New York, after declining several invitations from New York Democratic officials and presidential candidate Al Smith - who hoped Roosevelt could help him carry New York. Smith did not carry New York or win the presidential election, but Roosevelt was victorious in his campaign. This marked his return to active politics (though he had been campaigning for Smith) after being stricken with polio in 1921.
1970 The U.S. Post Office Department issued a stamp commemorating the completion of the carving of the huge carving on the face of Stone Mountain showing Confederate president Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The stamp's issuance came just over four months after formal dedication ceremonies for the carving on May 9.
1976 The Atlanta Braves named Bill Lucas Director of Player Personnel, making him the first black in baseball history to hold a front office position.
1997 Atlanta's Ted Turner announced a $1 billion donation to United Nations' charities – reportedly the largest philanthropic contribution by a single individual in world history. Prohibited from donating directly to the U.N., Turner indicated he would transfer $100 million in his Time-Warner stock each year for ten years for use by U.N.-supported charities. Turner further called on other wealthy individuals to also step forward to assist the U.N.
1998 On the 130th anniversary of the Camilla Massacre, a plaque was erected in Camilla, Georgia with the following inscription:
during the 1868 election campaign.
the Camilla Massacre
19 September 1998
by the participants in the 3d annual FREEDOMWALK
sponsored by the Prison and Jail Project
2009 Inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame were:
2009 A series of storms continued passing through west and north Georgia, which would eventually drop over ten inches of rain (significantly more in some areas) over much of the state. The result was severe flooding in numerous Georgia counties, some even closing interstate highways. Death tolls from the flooding would reach at least nine people. The serious flooding began in earnest on this day.
Georgia cities and towns incorporated by acts approved on Sept. 19:
1891 Hoschton (Jackson County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1738 After returning to Frederica from England, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees on conditions in Georgia:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. II, pp. 347-348.
1895 Reporting on the previous day's opening ceremonies for the Cotton States and International Exposition, the front page story of the Atlanta Constitution proclaimed:
Source: Atlanta Constitution, Sept. 19, 1895
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