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This Day in Georgia History

September 06, 1816

Francis S. Bartow Born

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.