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Macon in Bibb County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Camp Oglethorpe

"...such large wolfish eyes!"

 

—Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails —

 
Camp Oglethorpe Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
1. Camp Oglethorpe Marker
Inscription. After the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, on April 6 & 7, 1862, the Confederate government selected Macon as a Federal prisoner-of-war camp site. The Macon Fair and Parade Grounds was used to incarcerate 900 prisoners-of-war later that spring. Named for James Oglethorpe, Georgia's founder, Camp Oglethorpe encompassed fifteen acres surrounded by a 12-foot high wooden fence with an outside walk for sentries. The Macon Daily Telegraph newspaper noted, "The majority of them hail from Iowa; the balance consisting of Missourians, Indianans Illinoisans, and a few Tennesseans."

Two 12-pounder cannon were positioned so they could sweep the site. Ten feet inside the stockade wall ran a line of boards nailed to posts. Guards were ordered to shoot any prisoner approaching this line, hence the name "deadline." Numerous wooden-framed structures included a hospital, doctor's shop and cook house. A spring ran through the camp, and a well supplied drinking water.

Prisoners were allowed to build whatever shelters they could from scrap lumber and other materials. For distraction, they shot marbles, tossed horseshoes and made bone jewelry. Some even sold their wares to local citizens, or exchanged them for extra food or clothing.

New arrivals continued during 1862 until the number of prisoners reached between
Camp Oglethorpe Marker located on the grounds of Sanco Cleaning Solutions Company. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
2. Camp Oglethorpe Marker located on the grounds of Sanco Cleaning Solutions Company.
1,200 and 1,400 men, almost a quarter of whom were ill or wounded. Dr. James B. Hinkle, the prison's surgeon, asked Macon citizens to send old mattresses, coverlets, bagging, and carpeting for use in the prison hospital. A ridge southwest of the camp was used for prisoner burials.

During the Atlanta Campaign in 1864, with many more prisoners arriving, a new prison was opened for all Federal enlisted men at Andersonville, forty miles south of Macon. Camp Oglethorpe was then principally reserved for officers. During the last year of the war, Macon was overwhelmed with thousands of wounded Confederate soldiers and refugees exasperating camp shortages of medicine, food, clothing, and shelter. Luther G. Billings of the 3rd New York Cavalry described his fellow prisoners in Camp Oglethorpe as "ragged, unwashed and unshaven, with rags of dirty parts of undergarments barely covering them, with repulsive unhealed wounds, sores, and such large wolfish eyes!"

On July 31, 1864, Federal cavalry commanded by Major General George M. Stoneman was defeated and captured at Sunshine Church north of Macon. Stoneman and more than 400 others were Camp Oglethorpe's final new prisoners. Not knowing Federal military objectives during the fall of 1864, the Confederates moved all prisoners from Camp Oglethorpe and many from Andersonville to South Carolina or southeastern Georgia.
View from Camp Oglethorpe Marker towards company. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
3. View from Camp Oglethorpe Marker towards company.


After the war, the Georgia State Fair was never again held on the site of Camp Oglethorpe. One of the prison's survivors visited Macon in 1904, Governor Aaron T. Bliss of Michigan. He regretted not seeing the stockade as it had looked forty years earlier, but he was "glad to see works of industry established on the site as it shows the bitter feelings have been forgotten and in its stead the southern people are working for the up-building of their states."
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails.
 
Location. 32° 49.469′ N, 83° 37.655′ W. Marker is in Macon, Georgia, in Bibb County. Marker is on 7th Street north of Bay Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1001 7th Street, Macon GA 31206, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Macon City Hall (approx. ¾ mile away); William Arthur Fickling, Sr. (approx. 0.8 miles away); Post 3 Macon (approx. 0.8 miles away); First Public Camellia Show (approx. 0.8 miles away); Macon History (approx. 0.8 miles away); Freemasonry in Macon (approx. 0.8 miles away); City Hall & Old Capitol (approx. 0.9 miles away); Medal of Honor (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Macon.
 
Also see . . .  Camp Oglethorpe - Georgia and Confederate military facility. (Submitted on November 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 20, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 52 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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