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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jersey in Walton County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Centreville

Federal Encampments

 

—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

 
Centreville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 24, 2018
1. Centreville Marker
Inscription. In 1864, Centreville (now Jersey) was a small farming village located on Hightower Trail, a former Indian trading route. The village included several small stores and farm related businesses including a blacksmith shop and cotton gin. However, most local men of fighting age were far from home in distant Confederate armies.

The Federal 20th Corps, composed of three infantry divisions commanded by Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams, spent the night of November 17-18, 1864, in large camps around Centreville. They were part of the "Left Wing" of Major General William T. Sherman's army on its way from Atlanta to the sea.

The Second Division of the 20th Corps, commanded by Brigadier General John W. Geary, arrived in Centreville first. But they marched past this location and spent the night on the Dalley Plantation approximately three miles to the southeast. Next to arrive was the Third Division, by Brigadier General William T. Ward, and finally the First Division, commanded by Brigadier General Nathaniel J. Jackson. These two divisions found Centreville to be a pleasant rest stop.

Close to 10,000 soldiers, with their wagons, horses and artillery plus hundreds of following slaves established their evening camps throughout this community. They were pleased to rest in an area with little danger an sufficient
Centreville Marker looking north on Main Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 24, 2018
2. Centreville Marker looking north on Main Street.
water. Centreville's deep water wells, including one in the center of the village, provided welcome relief for soldiers who averaged marching fifteen miles a day. When on the march, each brief rest and water break was of "great benefit to the soldier" wrote a Federal staff officer. "He gains a breathing-spell, has a chance to wipe the perspiration from his brow and the dust out of his eyes, or he pulls off his shoes and stockings to cool his swollen, heated feet."

While camped at Centreville Federal parties scoured the surrounding countryside for food and animals. The residents of Centreville were careful to hide their valuables from the foraging troops. Local lore, however, tells that many chickens and other livestock fell prey to Federal "bummers." But many horses and mules had already been taken when on the previous July 23rd Second Lieutenant William L. Birney and the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry Regiment rode through Centreville on their way to Social Circle. They were part of Union Brigadier General Kenner Garrard's cavalry raid in support of General Sherman's effort to isolate and capture Atlanta.

On the morning of Friday, November 18th, the three divisions of the 20th Corps left their campsites in and around Centreville to march southeast toward Social Circle.
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War
View of back of marker to left of the Jersey Community Building. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 24, 2018
3. View of back of marker to left of the Jersey Community Building.
Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number L6.)
 
Location. 33° 43.029′ N, 83° 47.982′ W. Marker is in Jersey, Georgia, in Walton County. Marker is on Main Street south of Stargel Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located right next to the Jersey Community Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 Main Street, Jersey GA 30018, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Social Circle (approx. 6.2 miles away); In Memory of Emma Sansom (approx. 6.2 miles away); Hightower Trail (approx. 6.3 miles away); The March to the Sea (approx. 6.3 miles away); Seven Governors Have Lived In Walton County (approx. 7.2 miles away); James Monroe (approx. 7.3 miles away); Walton County (approx. 7.3 miles away); Old Church (approx. 7.6 miles away).
 
Regarding Centreville. Known as Centreville in 1864, Brigadier General Alpheus Williams’ 20th Corps camped in and near this community the night of November 17-18, 1864, foraging liberally. The following day the Federals continued marching generally east on Hightower Trail toward Social Circle.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 25, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 25, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 101 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 25, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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