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Gordon in Wilkinson County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Gordon

The First Phase Completed

 

March to the Sea Heritage Trail

 
Gordon - Sherman's March to the Sea Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
1. Gordon - Sherman's March to the Sea Marker
Inscription. Station Number 17 on the Central Railroad of Georgia, Gordon was named for. William W. Gordon, first president of the Central Railroad (and grandfather of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA). It was a strategic point connecting Milledgeville, the state capital, to the rail line running between Macon and Savannah. The first train service to Gordon was in 1843. During the Civil War this railroad played a major role in moving soldiers and supplies. Gordon's railroad made it a strategic destination for the "Right Wing" of Union Major General William T. Sherman's army during the first phase of their March to the Sea.

On Sunday, November 20, 1864, Henry C. Wayne, adjutant and inspector general of Georgia, arrived from Milledgeville with 460 Confederate soldiers. These men were fragments of various state units, cadets pardoned convicts and their guards. The following day, after being informed of the approach of Federal troops, Wayne moved his force east to the railroad bridge across the Oconee River. Their departure left Gordon with only two local residents, John R. Bragg and J. Rufus Kelly, to defend the town. Wayne's train departed Gordon about 4:00 p.m. on the 21st amidst bullets from arriving Federal cavalry.

For two days Federal soldiers destroyed Gordon's rail and other facilities. Despite
Gordon Marker next to an old caboose at the train depot. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
2. Gordon Marker next to an old caboose at the train depot.
ice and snow they ripped up and twisted rails, also foraging widely for foodstuffs and animals. The brick wall beginning at the loading dock on the end of the depot is all that remains of the original structure. The current depot was constructed in 1885.

Eliza Frances Andrews passed through Gordon the following month then wrote bitterly in her diary, "the desolation was more complete than anything we had yet seen. There was nothing left of the poor little village but ruins, charred and black as Yankee hearts. The pretty little depot presented only a shapeless pile of bricks capped by a crumbled mass of tin that had once covered the roof. The R. R. track was torn up and the iron twisted into every conceivable shape. Some of it was wrapped round the trunks of trees, as if the cruel invaders, not satisfied with doing all the injury they could to their fellowmen, must spend their malice on the innocent trees of the forest, whose only fault was that they grew on Southern soil, Many fine young saplings were killed in this way, but the quickest and most effective method of destruction was to lay the iron across the piles of burning cross-ties, and while heated in the flames it was bent and warped so as to be entirely spoiled. A large [Confederate] force is now at work repairing the the repairs advance a little every day.

The Federals began marching east to
Gordon Train Depot behind markers (now a museum). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
3. Gordon Train Depot behind markers (now a museum).
Marker between depot and caboose
McIntyre on Wednesday, November 23rd. The commander of the Right Wing, Union Major General Oliver O. Howard, left Gordon with his staff on the 25th, moving toward Ball's Ferry as the second phase of their march began.

[Photo captions]
Top left: William W. Gordon
Bottom left: J. Rufus Kelly, defender of Gordon, after the war
Middle: Destroying a Railroad
(by James E. Taylor)
Top right: Eliza Frances Andrews
Bottom right map: Approximate routes of the "March to the Sea" through middle Georgia in November 1864
(adopted from the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies)
Background watermark: Gordon Depot, circa 1885

 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number R12.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 32° 52.92′ N, 83° 20.051′ W. Marker is in Gordon, Georgia, in Wilkinson County. Marker is at the intersection of Jackson Street and Macon Road, on the right when traveling west on Jackson Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 90 Jackson Street, Gordon GA 31031, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. He Wouldn't Run (within shouting distance of this marker); The March to the Sea (within shouting distance of this marker); The Evacuation of Gordon (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of J. Rufus Kelly (within shouting distance of this marker); The Stoneman Raid (within shouting distance of this marker); Ramah Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Battle of Griswoldville (approx. 5.2 miles away); Myricks Mill (approx. 6.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gordon.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on William W. Gordon. (Submitted on May 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 6, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 275 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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