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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

November 08, 1860

Secession Demonstration in Savannah

Secession fever was sweeping the state of Georgia, as evidenced by a demonstration in one of Savannah’s public squares, where one of the earliest secession flags was raised. The demonstration was captured in a drawing by Henry Cleenewerck.

But not all were ready to rush into secession, as evidenced by this editorial in Augusta’s Chronicle & Sentinel:

“The Result” We have met the enemy and they have conquered. We do not yet know much of the details, nor have we much stomach for them. It is sufficient to know that Lincoln has carried nearly if not altogether the entire North, while the South is divided. And what does this election show? A triumph of sectionalism certainly, but is it a triumph also of antislavery fanaticism? It looks very much so, but still we must all know besides anti-slavery there was another powerful element that came in to the aid of the Republican party. And that was undying hatred to Democracy, and it may be that hatred of Democracy had as much to do with it as hatred of slavery. … But now the question is, what shall be done? No one can doubt that there is a demoniac, fanatic, anti-slavery sentiment in the North…No one can doubt that this spirit is manifest in the Republican party… What shall be done? Well, in the first place, the times require that we should be perfectly cool, or as cool as we can be, and that we proceed in this business with due deliberation, putting aside rashness and passion as far as possible… Reprinted from The Civil War: Primary Documents on Events from 1860-1865, Edited by Ford Risley, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 2004, pp. 31-32

The Southern Watchman of Athens was also leary of the secession movement, although not pleased with the election of Lincoln.

The Georgia Weekly Telegraph of Macon printed the news of Lincoln’s election, although returns were still incomplete.

Image of Secession Demonstration in Savannah Secession Demonstration in Savannah
Henry Cleenewerck
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Image of Secession Demonstration in Savannah Detail from Secession Demonstration in Savannah
Henry Cleenewerck
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Image of Secession Demonstration in Savannah The Southern Watchman
Digital Library of Georgia
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Image of Secession Demonstration in Savannah The Georgia Weekly Telegraph
Digital Library of Georgia
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