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1565 Pedro Menendez de Aviles and his Spanish force destroyed Fort Caroline and killed most of its French Huguenot defenders.
Located on the St. Johns River, the French fort was not located in present-day Georgia. Nevertheless, it fell in the Spanish claim that included Georgia. Its loss effectively eliminated French efforts to colonize the eastern Atlantic seaboard of North America.
1863 The Battle of Chickamauga raged all day in northwest Georgia.
Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee was victorious – but at a terrible price. Union commander William Rosecrans retreated from the field leaving his army under Gen. George H. Thomas, whose defense of Snodgrass Hill lead to his nickname of the "Rock of Chickamauga." Thomas's forces held their position until nightfall, when they retreated back to Chattanooga. Total casualties for Confederate forces were 18,454 (including Brig. Gen. James Deshler, who was killed in battle, and Benjamin Helm, who was mortally wounded), compared to 16,170 Union casualties (including brigadier general William Lytle, who was mortally wounded). While the battle was considered a Confederate victory, Bragg subsequently was criticized for allowing retreating Union forces to escape.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1916 The first session of present-day Oglethorpe University began in Atlanta with a freshman class of 48 students.
1958 While in New York City to promote his new book, Strive Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed in the chest by a black woman, Mrs. Isola Ware Curry. Born in Adrian, Georgia, in 1918, Mrs. Curry at age 20 had moved to New York, where she worked as a housekeeper. Why she would attempt to assassinate the civil rights leader is unknown, but at a book signing, she approached King and stabbed him with an eight-inch letter opener, telling the stunned crowd, "I've been after him for six years. I'm glad I done it." [See story and photos.]. King was taken to Harlem Hospital, where his chest wound proved life-threatening, as the tip of the blade almost punctured his aorta. Ten days after the attack, King held a press conference at the hospital at which he forgave his attacker and said she should not be punished because "she didn't know what she was doing."
After the stabbing, Mrs. Curry was taken to Bellevue Hospital for mental observation. Later, though indicted for attempted murder, a judge ruled her incompetent to stand trial and instead committed her to the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in New York.
1972 Playing at home, the Atlanta Braves had an inning they will never forget. In the second inning of a game against the Houston Astros, the Braves got 12 hits – a club record. More importantly, they scored a club-record 13 runs in the inning (five of which were driven in by second baseman Felix Millan).
Surprisingly, the Braves didn't score another run in any other inning – but the second inning alone gave them a 13- 6 victory. [Click here for a game summary.]
1976 Playboy magazine released its interview with Jimmy Carter in which he admitted that he had lusted in his heart for women other than wife Rosalynn.
In the interview, Carter had discussed the almost impossibly strict standards of his Southern Baptist faith, saying "I've committed adultery in my heart many times." The quote caused a national stir for several days, but obviously did not cost Carter the election in November.
1980 Georgia played Clemson in its third football game of its 1980 national championship season. This was a particularly bitter battle for several reasons – the schools are very near each other geographically, both played hard-nosed defense and emphasized the running game, and Clemson had been the other finalist in the recruitment of Herschel Walker. Clemson came into the game intent on stopping Walker. They were successful to a point in that Walker didn't score, but he did gain 121 yards. But, it was Georgia defensive back and punt return specialist Scott Woerner who was the hero of the game. Woerner returned the first punt of the game 67 yards for a touchdown. He later returned an interception 98 yards to set up another touchdown.
Clemson rallied to within four points of Georgia, but with time running out Georgia linebacker Frank Ros tipped a pass into the air, and free safety Jeff Hipp outfought a Clemson receiver for the ball on the Georgia one-yard line. Clemson still had time to make one final push if they could hold Georgia without a first down – but they didn't count on Herschel Walker's speed. The Johnson County running back outran several blitzing Clemson defenders to the corner and sprinted for a twenty-yard gain. The run gave Georgia a first down and time to run out the clock for a hard fought 20-16 victory.
1992 In the 6th inning, David Justice, Brian Hunter, and Ron Gant hit consecutive home runs – the seventh time in Braves history. Before the inning was over, however, Mark Lemke homered to tie the franchise record.
1997 At ceremonies in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, four new members were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame: the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the late Dave Prater of the rhythm-and-blues duo Sam and Dave, the late Dennis "Boots" Woodall, and R&B singer/songwriter William Bell.
1998 Though the fight began late on the night of Sept. 19, it didn't end until 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 20. At the Georgia Dome, Atlanta boxer Evander Holyfield successfully defended his IBF/WBA heavyweight title in a 12-round unanimous -- though surprisingly close -- decision over challenger Vaugh Bean.
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. By this date, the flooding was severe in Atlanta and many counties around it, and in west Georgia.
Georgia cities and towns incorporated by acts approved on Sept. 20:
1887 Bartow (Jefferson County)
and Loganville (Walton County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1736 In his journal of Trustees' proceedings, the Earl of Egmont recorded the basis for the rival claims of England and Spain for the disputed land between Charles Town and St. Augustine:
Source: Robert G. McPherson (ed.), The Journal of the Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), pp. 201-202.
1739 After James Oglethorpe's trip to the Creek Nation, his group returned by way of Augusta and then down the Savannah River. On the final leg of their trip, Oglethorpe learned first hand of a Carolina slave rebellion, as recorded by Patrick Mackay in his journal:
Source: Ed Cashin, Setting Out to Begin a New World: Colonial Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 83.
1864 The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed an editorial predicting that the people of Georgia could expect the same type treatment from General William T. Sherman and Union troops as had been received by the people of Atlanta - expulsion from their homes, confiscation of their property, and to live in subjugation.
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