Social Circle in Walton County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Lightning Strikes Twice
—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —
Second Lieutenant William L. Birney and the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry Regiment, under the direction of Union Brigadier General Kenner Garrard, charged into town in a cloud of dust about mid-morning on Saturday, July 23, 1864. They took several prisoners, captured mail and were "very insolent to the ladies" according to one resident, going into houses and plundering them of "such things as they fancied." The Hoosiers were ordered to burn the town's only hotel, allowing owner H.L. Spencer only enough time to move some of his furniture out into the street. They also set fire to the railroad depot, the wood station, a water tank, several Confederate wagons and a store filled with commissary supplies. Flames reportedly destroyed five nearby houses. "The Circle" was veiled in smoke before the cavalrymen galloped out of town.
After the fall of Atlanta in early September and the subsequent occupation and partial destruction of that city, Major General William T. Sherman's army undertook
On Friday, November 18, 1864, the Federal 20th Corps under Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams and accompanied by Major General Henry W. Slocum commanding Sherman's "Left Wing," entered Social Circle on Hightower Trail. Many local residents were taken by surprise and had no time to hide their animals or stocks of foodstuffs. "All residents looked alarmed to see the Yankees march through." Some grabbed a few possessions and immediately took flight only to find they had to share the roads with the invaders. Federal soldiers captured a Confederate surgeon and $3,000 in gold. Sergeant Rice Bull of the 123rd New York Infantry Regiment resented the town's name because he could find no one who would be sociable. But a joyous reception was given to the soldiers by the slave population.
Bottom left: The March to the Sea (Library of Congress)
Middle: Civilian Refugees
Top right: Sergeant Rice Bull 123rd New York Infantry Regiment
Bottom right map: Federal March Routes, November 17 & 18, 1864
(adopted from the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies)
Background watermark: The March to the Sea
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number L7.)
Location. 33° 39.388′ N, 83° 43.17′ W. Marker is in Social Circle, Georgia, in Walton County. Marker can be reached from West Hightower Trail west of North Cherokee Road (Georgia Route 11). Touch for map. Located behind the post office, next to the fence of a small children's park. Marker is at or near this postal address: West Hightower Trail, Social Circle GA 30025, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. In Memory of Emma Sansom (within shouting distance of this marker); Hightower Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The March to the Sea (approx. 0.2 miles away); Brick Store (approx. 4.1 miles away); Sherman at Harris’ Quarters (approx. 6.2 miles away); Centreville (approx. 6.2 miles away); Rutledge Station (approx. 6˝ miles away); Rutledge (approx. 6˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Social Circle.
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 10, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 291 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 10, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.