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In Their Own Words

January 23, 1861

Augusta Arsenal Ordered to Surrender

At the direction of Gov. Joseph E. Brown, his aide-de-camp Col. Henry R. Jackson wrote Capt. Arnold Elzey, U.S. commander of the Augusta Arsenal, demanding him to surrender the facility:

“SIR: I am instructed by his excellency Governor Brown to say to you that, Georgia having seceded from the United States of America and resumed exclusive sovereignty over her soil, it has become his duty to require you to withdraw the troops under your command, at the earliest practicable moment, from the limits of the State.

He proposes to take possession of the arsenal, and to receipt for all public property under your charge, which will be accounted for on adjustment between the State of Georgia and the United States of America.

He begs to refer you to the fact that the retention of your troops upon the soil of Georgia after remonstrance is, under the laws of nations, an act of hostility, and he claims that the State is not only at peace but anxious to cultivate the most amicable relations with the United States Government.

I am further instructed to say that an answer will be expected by to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock.”

Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, DC: Government Publications Office, 1880-1900), Vol. I, p. 322.