“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Covington in Newton County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)

Covington Square

Sherman Strikes Three Times


— March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

Covington Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 30, 2017
1. Covington Square Marker
Inscription.  On Friday, July 22, 1864, while the Battle of Atlanta raged about 25 miles to the west, Union Brigadier General Kenner Garrard and about 3,500 cavalrymen were in Covington. They had been ordered by Major General William T. Sherman to disrupt the railroad between Atlanta and Augusta by destroying its bridges over the nearby Yellow and Alcovy Rivers. In Covington they burned the railroad depot many commercial buildings and warehouses full of cotton.

59-year-old Presley Jones, who lived on Washington Street, vowed to shoot the first Federal soldier he saw. Grabbing his squirrel rifle he ambushed two of Garrard's scouts, Privates John Williams of the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry and William Travellion of the 4th Michigan Cavalry. Jones mortally wounded one, took cover then quickly reloaded and shot the other. Jones himself was killed by other Federal scouts. Another Covington resident, George Daniel, a Confederate soldier home on sick leave, was found by Federal soldiers following the Jones incident and was executed as a reputed bushwhacker.

Covington was raided a second time on Thursday, July 28th by Union Major General George
View from marker looking towards Newton County Courthouse. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 30, 2017
2. View from marker looking towards Newton County Courthouse.
The Newton County Courthouse is a historic county courthouse in Courthouse Square in Covington, Georgia, the county seat of Newton County, Georgia. The courthouse was designed by Bruce & Morgan in a Second Empire architecture style and built in 1884.
Stoneman's cavalry division. Mrs. S. E. D. "Grandma" Smith, a local nurse reported "Chickens, eggs, turkeys, ham, and in fact every available article they could possibly find to steal, they had on their horses." Stoneman's visit was not long as he pushed south with a goal of liberating Federal prisoners at Macon and Andersonville.

General Sherman arrived in what he later described as "the handsome town of Covington" on Friday, November 18th during his army's march to the sea. He accompanied Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis's 14th Corps. Federal troops entered town via the Decatur road (now Old Atlanta Highway) with flags unfurled and bands playing. They proceeded east to Railroad Street (now Emory Street) and south to the Madison Highway (now Clark/Floyd Street) before reaching the courthouse then located on the square. Many slaves crowded around the troops in jubilation, calling them saviors. A Federal band that began playing on the square enticed local citizens out to listen to "Dixie." But all returned to their homes when the next tune was "Yankee Doodle."

Allie Travis, a resident of Floyd Street, reported, "The street in front of our house was a moving mass of blue coats...from 9 o'clock in the morning to a late hour at night. All during the day squads would leave the ranks, rush into the house and demand something to eat." The
View from marker towards Confederate Monument. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 30, 2017
3. View from marker towards Confederate Monument.
soldiers did not remain in town, instead continued to march east on Floyd Street past many impressive homes before camping for the night on Judge John Harris's plantation about four miles from town. Sherman traveled through Covington on a side street to avoid the crowds.
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number L4.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Sherman’s March to the Sea series list.
Location. 33° 35.788′ N, 83° 51.608′ W. Marker is in Covington, Georgia, in Newton County. Marker is on Monticello Street SW south of Clark Street SW, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1112 Monticello Street SW, Covington GA 30014, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Newton County War Memorial (a few steps from this marker); To The Confederate Dead of Newton County (within shouting distance of this marker); Lucius Q. C. Lamar (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Capture of Covington (about 700 feet away); City Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); Covington City School
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); The Female College (approx. 0.2 miles away); Confederate Dead & Hospitals (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Covington.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2017. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 391 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 10, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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Jan. 23, 2021