The March to the Sea Civil War Heritage Trails interpretive marker will be the first of three to be erected in Milledgeville, said Jim Turner, director of the Old Governor’s Mansion. It depicts in words and images the occupation of the mansion by Sherman in November of 1864.
Other markers will be located near the front campus of Georgia College & State University and at the Old State Capitol Building at Georgia Military College, Turner said.
"The installation of this very important interpretive marker will give the Mansion, Milledgeville and GCSU tremendous exposure,” he said. “It will be good for our visitors and students to read the narrative and view the images of Sherman's stay here in November 1864. This is a project that I have been involved with for several years now. I'm glad to see it finally come to fruition.”
The Old Governor’s Mansion, completed in 1839, was home to eight Georgia governors until the capital was moved to Atlanta in 1868. During the Civil War, the mansion was the home of Gov. Joseph E. Brown.
Sherman set up headquarters in the Mansion when he and approximately 30,000 troops marched into Milledgeville, completing the first phase of his “March to the Sea.” While in Milledgeville, he met with various generals and gave orders for the second phase, beginning on Nov. 25.
The marker details these and other historic facts surrounding that time in history. Images include one of Union colors being raised on the roof of the Mansion during its occupation by Sherman, a photo of Gov. Brown, a Milledgeville era street map highlighting the Mansion and other downtown Civil War sites, and a photo of Gen. Sherman.
Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails interprets Georgia’s Civil War era along its historic routes. According to its website, Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails divides the state into six regions, each designating an area or major event from Georgia’s Civil War era. The “Atlanta Campaign” and “March to the Sea” were Georgia’s two most significant Civil War events and so were created first.
Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails is a nonprofit corporation guided by a volunteer board of trustees. With the awarding of federal Transportation Enhancement funds, supported by local communities (but with no state tax dollars), Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails has begun erecting hundreds of colorful highway directional “trailblazer” signs, and more than 130 new interpretive markers at historic locations throughout Georgia.
“We will now be part of two historic routes through Georgia – the Antebellum Trail and the March to the Sea Civil War Heritage Trails,” said Matt Davis, assistant curator of education at the Old Governor’s Mansion. “This will bring additional visitors to Milledgeville to see its historic sites.”
The Old Governor’s Mansion, considered one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation, has been an integral part of Georgia College & State University since 1889. The Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Beginning in the late 1990s, an initiative was begun to return the Old Governor’s Mansion to its antebellum splendor. Following five years of intensive historical, structural, and material research, the Old Governor’s Mansion began its long awaited historic restoration in November 2001. It reopened in February of 2005.
The event is being co-sponsored by the Old Governor’s Mansion, GCSU and the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, contact Jim Turner or Matt Davis at (478) 445-4545; or the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (478) 452-4687.