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Jackson in Butts County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Sylvan Grove Plantation

Colonel Spencer's Kindness

 

—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

 
Sylvan Grove Plantation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
1. Sylvan Grove Plantation Marker
Inscription. In 1864, Sylvan Grove Plantation was located just outside Jackson. Its owner, Asa Buttrill, built an impressive 14-room plantation house in the 1830s for his bride, Lucy Manley. The house stood slightly south of the large stone covering a wellspring that supplied water to the estate.

On Wednesday, November 16th, as more than 11,000 Federal soldiers of the 17th Corps in the Right Wing" of Major General William T. Sherman's army approached, Asa Buttrill filled two wagons with food and valuables and fled south for Macon. Lucy Buttrill remained at home in her room. Early the next morning Asa and Lucy's 22-year-old daughter Mary, her aunt Emma Manley, and two slave maids named Martha and Mandy, also left Sylvan Grove for Macon in a loaded phaeton-style carriage. Their driver, Ben Drake, was a crippled Confederate soldier. Along they their way Asa's overtook overloaded wagons and had a chance meeting with two Confederate scouts one of whom was Taylor Buttrill, Mary's 17-year-old brother. Suddenly, Federal cavalry appeared. The men of the Buttrill party fled with the phaeton, abandoning the women (Asa Buttrill was later captured, and subsequently released, although his wagons were plundered). One of the Federal soldiers asked Mary, "Madam, where are those damned rebels that were here with you?" After a brief conversation Mary inquired, "Is there a gentleman in this vast crowd who would take us to an officer where I could ask for protection for my Aunt, the two maids and myself? The women were led to a two-room cabin and soon to the attention of Colonel George E. Spencer of the Federal 1st Alabama Cavalry. Spencer's
View of marker in front of WellStar Sylvan Grove Hospital. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
2. View of marker in front of WellStar Sylvan Grove Hospital.
regiment was scouting for the 17th Corps. He provided the women with clothing and food, and stayed three hours while the 17th Corps passed, marching toward the Ocmulgee River at Seven Islands. The women were eventually taken home in an ox cart. Spencer was smitten with Emma Manley. After the war he sent her letters with gifts of books and flowers, but she rejected his efforts.

By the afternoon of November 17th, Union Major General Francis P. Blair, Jr. and his staff briefly occupied Sylvan Grove. Blair commanded the 17th Corps, one-half of the "Right Wing" in General Sherman's army. Federal stragglers looted the estate. Following their devastation there was little to eat at Sylvan Grove except scraps of potatoes and a little corn. The only furnishings remaining in the house were in Lucy Buttrill's room plus three chairs and a sofa in a parlor used by General Blair. Most furniture and clothes had been thrown out windows and Mary Buttrill's life work of art was completely ruined, including paintings, oils, watercolors and India ink. Sylvan Groves barns, stables, cribs and fences, cotton and gin house were all burned, while all cows, chickens, horses and mules were killed or stolen. Two weeks later an uncle from an unaffected area west of Atlanta arrived at Sylvan Grove with provisions. The Sylvan Grove Plantation house survived the war but no longer exists.

[Photo Captions]
Top left: Sylvan Grove Plantation
Bottom left: Union Colonel George E. Spencer
Middle top: A phaeton-style carriage
Middle bottom: Stone covering a wellspring that supplied water to Sylvan Grove Plantation
Top right: Union Major General Francis
View of marker looking north on McDonough Road. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
3. View of marker looking north on McDonough Road.
P. Blair Jr.
Bottom right: The "March to the Sea" through Butts County
  (Lloyd's Topographical Map of Georgia, 1864)
Background watermark: "Federal Foraging Party" (Frank Leslie's Illustrated)

 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number R4.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 33° 18.197′ N, 83° 58.678′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Georgia, in Butts County. Marker is on McDonough Road 0.2 miles south of Brookwood Avenue (U.S. 23), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located in front of the WellStar Sylvan Grove Hospital. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1050 McDonough Road, Jackson GA 30233, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Sylvan Grove Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); Butts County (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Right Wing at Jackson (approx. 0.9 miles away); Crossing the Ocmulgee (approx. 0.9 miles away); Jackson (approx. 0.9 miles away); Butts County Confederate Monument (approx. 0.9 miles away); Iron Springs (approx. 4.2 miles away); Home of Robert Grier (approx. 4˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
 
Also see . . .  The Story of Sylvan Grove Plantation. (Submitted on May 3, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicNotable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
View of stone that covers the old wellspring. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
4. View of stone that covers the old wellspring.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 3, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 96 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 3, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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