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This Day in Georgia History

January 23, 1861

Gov. Brown Ordered Surrender of Federal Arsenal at Augusta

Gov. Joseph E. Brown personally visited Augusta and demanded that U.S. Army Capt. Arnold Elzey, commander of the federal arsenal at Augusta, surrender the facility to the state of Georgia. Capt. Elzey, who had a small force of 80 soldiers, refused Brown’s demand. Rumors that Georgia was going to take the arsenal by force led 800 Augustans to volunteer for military duty. Gov. Brown, however, decided give Elzey a chance to reconsider and had his aide-de-camp draft a letter to Elzey stipulating his demand in writing. Elzey then telegraphed Army officials in Washington D.C. to tell of his situation and ask for further instructions.