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

The Lanier House

He looked bronzed and somewhat careworn, but hardy and vigorous.

 

—Jefferson Davis Heritage Trail —

 
The Lanier House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 13, 2018
1. The Lanier House Marker
Inscription.  The Lanier House, for decades Macon's premiere hotel, opened on June 12, 1850 at this location. Macon native and poet Sidney Lanier was a member of the inn-keeping family. With additions the hotel stretched 135 feet on Mulberry Street with a cast iron balcony running its entire length. It stood four stories tall with a cupola above and included two stores, a barbershop and a "bathing room." The structure was demolished in the 1970s.

When word reached Macon on December 20, 1860, that South Carolina had seceded from the Union a celebratory crowd of 1,500 marched through the streets to the Lanier House. There they heard stirring speeches by some of the town's leading citizens. Walter A. Clark recalled, "The streets were packed with a solid mass of excited, fevered, yelling humanity. The people were simply wild for Southern independence."

During the war the Lanier House was a stop for thousands passing through Macon, a transportation and supply center for the Confederacy. One visitor was President Jefferson Davis who spoke from the second floor balcony on October 30, 1863, prior to a reception held in his honor at the hotel.
Marker detail: The ambulance (wagon) carrying Jefferson Davis outside the Lanier House, May 13, 1865 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: The ambulance (wagon) carrying Jefferson Davis outside the Lanier House, May 13, 1865
Another guest was Eliza Frances Andrews, whose memoir War Time Journal of a Georgia Girl includes an account of life at the hotel. As Federal cavalry approached Macon in mid-April 1865 Andrews wrote about the panic along Mulberry Street in front of the hotel, "everything and everybody seems to be in the wildest excitement."

Upon the occupation of Macon by Federal troopers on April 20, 1865, Major General James H. Wilson took residence at the Lanier House where he temporarily set up his headquarters. On Saturday, May 13, 1865, Jefferson Davis and the other Confederates captured three days earlier near Irwinville arrived in town. Davis was specifically brought to the hotel for an interview with Wilson. The local newspaper reported, "At every step the crowd increased. From all parts of the city, men, women, and children… flocked to the sidewalks and blocked up the way." Guards lined the entrance to the Lanier House. After resting, Davis, his wife Varina and their children were served dinner.

After dining Jefferson Davis had a cordial conversation with General Wilson in the latter's suite. Although 30 years apart in age they were both West Point graduates. The two men had crossed paths there before the war, when Davis was a visiting U.S. Senator and Wilson a cadet. In a letter Wilson wrote from the Lanier House he described Davis as being
Marker detail: Union Major General James H. Wilson image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Union Major General James H. Wilson
"quite cheerful and talkative” yet divorced from reality. Years later in his memoirs Wilson added that Davis "looked bronzed and somewhat careworn, but hardy and vigorous."

Later that evening, Jefferson Davis, his family, personal secretary Burton Harrison, former Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan and others began a long trek north. They were sent under guard by train to Atlanta and Augusta, then by boat to Savannah before boarding a ship steaming north. Davis was imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia for two years.

Photo captions:
• The Lanier House (aka. Hotel Lanier), circa 1900
• Jefferson Davis, after his release from prison
• Arrival of Jefferson Davis at the Lanier House, May 13, 1865
• The ambulance (wagon) carrying Jefferson Davis outside the Lanier House, May 13, 1865
• Union Major General James H. Wilson
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 32° 50.248′ N, 83° 37.627′ W. Marker is in Macon, Georgia, in Bibb County. Marker is on Mulberry Street (Georgia Route 49) west of 3rd Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker
Marker detail: Route of Jefferson Davis image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Route of Jefferson Davis
• Departed Richmond, Va. • April 2, 1865
• Captured at Irwinville, Ga. • May 10, 1865
• Arrived under guard in Macon, Ga. • May 13, 1865
is located beside the sidewalk, within Messenburg Park, between the east-bound and west-bound sides of Mulberry Street. Marker is in this post office area: Macon GA 31201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wilson's Raid To Macon (a few steps from this marker); Jefferson Davis at the Lanier House (a few steps from this marker); Bibb County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Civil War Era Maconites of African Ancestry (about 500 feet away); William Augustus Bootle (about 500 feet away); First Public Camellia Show (about 500 feet away); Post 3 Macon (about 500 feet away); Christ Church (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Macon.
 
Also see . . .
1. Jefferson Davis captured. Davis and his cabinet fled from Richmond to Danville, Virginia, and with Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, deep into the South. Lee’s surrender of his massive Army of Northern Virginia effectively ended the Civil War, and during the next few weeks the remaining Confederate armies surrendered one by one. Davis was devastated by the fall of the Confederacy. Refusing to admit defeat, he hoped to flee to a sympathetic foreign nation such as Britain or France, and was weighing the merits of forming a government in exile when he was arrested by a detachment
The Lanier House Marker (<i>wide view looking northwest along Mulberry Street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, September 13, 2018
5. The Lanier House Marker (wide view looking northwest along Mulberry Street)
of the 4th Michigan Cavalry. (Submitted on March 9, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. The Capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. A picked company of Wilson's command captured Jefferson Davis on the morning of May 10, at Irwinsville, Georgia. The company was commanded by Colonel Pritchard, of the Fourth Michigan. (Submitted on March 9, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
More. Search the internet for The Lanier House.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 11, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 9, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 76 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 9, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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