Sandersville in Washington County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Washington County Courthouse
"We had fought for the town and it was our plunder."
—Jeﬀerson Davis Heritage Trail —
The first units to arrive were the 17th New York and 16th Illinois infantry regiments. These Federals and others skirmished for 30 minutes with elements of Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry. The Southern troopers fired from within the courthouse, from street corners and behind houses but quickly retreated. For the 600 inhabitants of Sandersville, mostly women and children, it was a terrifying spectacle. There were few casualties on either side.
Captain James Ladd of the 13th Ohio Infantry recorded in his diary "Sandersville...contains 2 churches, several fine stores, large hotel buildings and several fine residences. The boys were allowed to do just as they pleased. We had fought for the town and it was our plunder." Sandersville resident Ella Mitchell and her family were at breakfast when they heard a clattering of horses' hooves. "In a few minutes our house was filled with the surging mass [of Federal soldiers]. In a little
After using a nearby residence (the Brown House) as his overnight headquarters, General Sherman left Sandersville on November 27th riding south toward Tennille. Before leaving he ordered the burning of the Greek Revival style Washington County Courthouse in retribution for its use by General Wheeler's Confederate cavalry the previous day. County Ordinary, Haywood Brookins, had earlier ordered the courthouse records brought to him then hid them between his bed's mattresses. The courthouse's reconstruction was completed in 1869 on the same foundation. It was remodeled in 1900.
On Saturday, May 6, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his party passed through Washington County. They stopped briefly for Postmaster General John Reagan who was also acting Secretary of the Treasury, and Captain M. H. Clark, acting treasurer, to conduct the last official transaction of the Confederate treasury. The group then continued south toward Tennille and Ball's Ferry.
Top left: Washington County Courthouse prior to its accidental burning in 1855. Rebuilt then burned by Federal troops on Sunday, November 27, 1864.
(Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia collection)
Bottom left: Federals skirmishing with Confederate cavalry in Sandersville's Courthouse Square
Map of right: Approximate routes of the March to the Sea (November 1864) and Jefferson Davis (May 1865) through Washington County and surrounding region
(adapted from the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies)
Background watermark: Skirmishing in Sandersville's Courthouse Square
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number L17.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 32° 59.004′ N, 82° 48.685′ W. Marker is in Sandersville, Georgia, in Washington County. Marker is at the intersection of West Haynes Street and Stacer Avenue, on the right when traveling west on West Haynes Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 132 West Haynes Street, Sandersville GA 31082, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Washington County Viet Nam War Monument (a few steps from this marker); Washington County Korean War Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Washington County Korean Monument (a few steps from this marker); Pvt. Willie Lee Duckworth Sr. (a few steps from this marker); Washington County World War I Monument (a few steps from this marker); Washington County World War II Monuments (a few steps from this marker); Washington County World War II Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Governor Thomas W. Hardwick (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sandersville.
Regarding Washington County Courthouse. The Courthouse in Sandersville was one of the few Courthouses burned during the March to the Sea campaign.
Washington County is the only place where both the “March to the Sea Heritage Trail” and the “Escape of Jefferson Davis Heritage Trail” cross.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 118 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.