Neigh of the Iron Horse

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County. Over time, the trains would bring new economic & tourism opportunities to Wiregrass Georgia, like Henry Bank’s Elixir of Life mineral springs at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

The track of the A & G “Main Trunk” Railroad had one month earlier reached Station No. 14, Naylor, GA, sixteen miles east of Valdosta.

The Valdosta (Lowndes Co.) Watchman, on last Tuesday [June 26, 1860], says:
“The ware-house at Naylor Station (No. 14) has been completed, and freight is now regularly received and forwarded. The grading on Section 29 is finished to the eastern boundary of Valdosta, the cross ties are being distributed along the line, and nothing save some unforeseen providential contingency can postpone the arrival of the train at No. 15 longer than 20th July ensuing. The whistle of the Steam Horse has been heard repeatedly in our village the past week.”

The railroad had been built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA.

For the opening of the tracks to Valdosta, the town invited the A & G railroad executives and prominent citizens of Savannah to a grand celebration of the event. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Jubilee held July 31, 1860.

Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
August 10, 1860

Railroad Jubilee at Valdosta

The Valdosta Watchman says, the opening of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad to that place was celebrated with a public dinner. A train of seven passenger cars brought numerous guests from Savannah and intermediate places on the road, who arrived at Valdosta at one o’clock, and were welcomed with the heavy booming of a nine pounder.
On the same day the friends of Breckinridge and Lane held a meeting, ratified the nominations, appointed five delegates to Milledgeville and were addressed by Col. Henry R. Jackson and Julian Hartridge, Esq.

 

 

Among the prominent attendees:

  • Reuben Thomas “Thompy” Roberds, Mayor of Valdosta; attorney; owner of 10 enslaved people
  • John Screven, President of both the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; Mayor of Savannah; State Representative from Chatham County;  a rice planter on the Savannah River; owner of Proctor Plantation, Beaufort, SC; owner of 91 enslaved people.
  • Gaspar J. Fulton, Superintendent of the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Julian Hartridge, State Representative; owner of four enslaved people
  • Robert Grant, Savannah attorney
  • Henry Rootes Jackson, prominent attorney and prosecutor of Savannah; former U.S. Minister Resident to the Austrian Empire; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks County, GA
  • Col. Thomas Marsh Forman, former state senator, wealthy planter of Savannah, owner of Broughton Island, political rival of Julian Hartridge, son-in-law of Governor Troupe, owner of 171 enslaved people in Chatham, Laurens and Glynn County, GA.
  • Young J. Anderson, of Savannah, former Solicitor General of the Eastern Circuit, attorney and owner of 6 enslaved people. One of his slaves was the remarkable Rachel Brownfield, who through her own efforts earned enough to buy her own freedom, but Anderson reneged on the deal.
  • Joseph John “JJ” Goldwire, accountant, resident of Valdosta
  • Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, resident of Valdosta
  • Benjamin F. Moseley, alumnus of the University of Georgia, resident of Georgia Militia District 662 (Clyattville District); his brother, Augustus Moseley, owned 33 enslaved
  • William Zeigler, wealthy planter of Valdosta and owner of 46 enslaved people.
  • Sumner W. Baker, Troupville, GA attorney residing at Tranquil Hall hotel
  • Rufus Wiley Phillips,  Troupville, GA attorney; owner of three enslaved people; later mayor of Valdosta and a judge of Suwannee County, FL
  • Lenorean DeLyon, editor of the Valdosta Watchman newspaper; his brother, Isaac DeLyon, was the first station agent for the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad at Valdosta. A neice, Lenora DeLyon, was a passenger on the first train to reach the town.
Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Savannah Daily Morning News
Thursday Morning, August 2, 1860

Railroad Celebration at Valdosta.
In response to the invitation of the citizens of Lowndes county to the officers and Directors of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the citizens of Savannah, to join with the people of Lowndes and the adjoining counties in celebrating the completion of the Main Trunk to that point, in company with a number of gentlemen we left the city in a special train for Valdosta, at 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning [July 31, 1860]. Not withstanding the extreme heat of the weather, and the dustiness of the track, the trip, over a good road, through a county so recently almost a wilderness, but which is already beginning to exhibit evidences—in its increasing population, rising towns, and growing prosperity and enterprise, of the great benefits which must result to our section of the State from the completion of this great work—was both interesting and pleasant. As the train progressed, and as we neared the point of destination, our party was increased by continual accessions of people, and by the time we reached Valdosta, the cars were filled to the extent of their capacity.

Arriving at Valdosta about two o’clock, we were surprised to find a gathering of some three thousand people, of whom a large proportion were ladies and children—the town surrounded by vehicles of every description, and saddle horses tied to the trees in every direction. The company had just partaken of a most bountiful and well-prepared barbecue, which was spread out upon tables under a shed erected for the purpose. The guests from Savannah were cordially received by the committee, by whom we were invited to the tables, and introduced to many of those present.

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

After the company had retired from the tables, a meeting was organized by calling Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks county, to the Chair, and appointing Dr. Folsom, Secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated by the chairman, Capt. John Screven, President of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf and Main Trunk Railroads, responded to the general call in an eloquent and appropriate address, in which he spoke of the interesting event to celebrate which, in a becoming manner, he was happy to see so many of fellow citizens and fair countrywomen of Southwestern Georgia assembled in Valdosta. He alluded to the immense benefits which must result to the people of the interior and the cities of the seaboard from the completion of the great iron link which was to bind them together in bonds of mutual Interest and mutual friendship. Capt. Screven’s address was received with demonstrations of cordial approval.

Henry Rootes Jackson

Henry Rootes Jackson

Brief and appropriate addresses were also delivered in response to the call of the meeting by Hon. Henry R. Jackson, Julian Hartridge, Esq., Col. Thos. M. Forman and Y. J. Anderson, Esq., of Savannah, S. W. Baker,Esq., Chairman of the Committee of arrangements, also addressed the meeting. Other gentlemen were also called by the meeting, among them Robert Grant, Esq., of this city. None of them responding, the meeting was finally adjourned, and the immense crowd, most or whom had many miles to travel to their homes, began to disperse. Some objection having been made to a proposition to reorganize the meeting as a political meeting, notice was given that the friends of Breckinridge and Lane would reassemble at the Court House for the purpose of holding a ratification meeting.

A large portion of those present repaired to the Court-house, where a meeting was organized by calling William B. Zeigler, Esq., to preside., and appointing R. T. Roberds

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

esq., secretary.

The official proceedings of this meeting, which was a very spirited and enthusiastic demonstration of the prevailing sentiment, not only of Lowndes but of the surrounding counties and throughout that section of the State, in favor of Breckinridge and Lane and sound State Rights principles, will be found in another column or our paper.

Judge Jackson, being Invited to address the meeting, made one of his happiest and most effective  efforts. After a brief history of the action of the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions, and a fair statement or the great Issue before the country, he confined himself mainly to a most searching review of the political record of John Bell, whom he clearly demonstrated had given evidence by his frevuent votes against the South, and with the North, that his ambition is stronger than his patriotism, and that he is utterly unworthy the confidence of the South in a crisis like the present.

Mr. Hartridge, followed Judge Jackson in one of the ablest and most forcible political speeches we have ever heard him deliver.

Col. Forman, In response to the call of the meeting made a brief and pertinent speech which was also well received by the meeting.

Alter the passage of the resolutions and a vote of thanks to the speakers, the meeting adjourned with three hearty cheers for Breckenridge and Lane.

The crowd at Valdosta on Tuesday comprised a full and fair representation of the people of that portion of Georgia, its brave men, its fair women, and bright youth; and was one of the largest as well as most respectable assemblages we have ever seen brought together in the interior and more sparsely populated sections of our State. As we contemplated the vast crowd, and looked upon Valdosta, just emerging from the native pine forest, then echoing the first startling neigh of the Iron horse, who, as he leaps the heretofore impassable barriers that have shut out Southwestern Georgia from the commerce of the world, we endeavored to picture to our mind the great change which a few years must bring to this long neglected and almost unconsidered portion of our noble Slate.

Valdosta, the present terminus of the Main Trunk road, is distant from Savannah 155 miles. The first trees upon its site were felled In February last, and though only a little more than six months old, its present population numbers about five hundred souls. It is handsomely laid out, and though the native trees still obstruct its streets, it has three or four dry goods stores, two grocery stores, two hotels, two steam mills, a court-house, several neat private residences, and last, not least, a printing office and a newspaper.

The Valdosta Hotel, at which we stopped, is well kept by very kind and obliging people, who made up by their willing efforts for whatever they lacked of ability to provide accommodation for a crowd that would have given even our Pulaski House something extra to do. In the emergency of the case we are greatly Indebted to Mr. J. G. Fulton, the worthy Superintendent of the Road, who kindly provided us and many others with excellent sleeping quarters for the night on the cars.

The perfect safety with which the entire trip was made over the road, on a considerable portion of which the rails have been but recently laid, bears testimony alike to the excellence of the road itself and to the carefulness and attention of its employees.

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Breckinridge and Lane Meeting At Valdosta.

There was a barbecue given at the above place on Tuesday, 31st July, to celebrate the arrival or the cars at Valdosta, the friends of Breckinridge and Lane availed themselves of this opportunity to hold a ratification meeting, and assembled, after the close of the exercises pertaining to the railroad celebration, in the Court house at Valdosta, In the afternoon of the same day for that purpose.

On motion of Mr. J. J. Goldwire, Mr. William Zeigler was called to the Chair, and R. T. Roberds requested to set as Secretary.

Mr. Goldwire then introduced the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

1st, Resolved, That we, the Democracy of Lowndes county, do hereby ratify the nominations of John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane, for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United Slates, and we pledge to them our hearty and undivided support, believing, as we do, that it is high time for the people of the South to be united and vigilant In the recognition and enforcement of their constitutional rights.

2d. Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting do now appoint five delegates to represent the county of Lowndes in the Democratic Convention to assemble at Mllledgevllle on the 8th of August next, to nominate an electoral ticket to cast the vote of Georgia in the Presidential election.

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

3d. Resolved, That should it be inconvenient for any one of said delegates to attend said convention, that those who do go be instructed to cast their votes for them, having the same power of the original delegates.

The following gentlemen were appointed by the Chair, to wit: Benjamin F. Mosely, R. W. Phillips, J. J. Goldwire, Dr. A. R Taylor, and Col. Leonorean DeLyon.

Col. H R. Jackson being present, was called on to address the meeting, which he did in his usually eloquent and forcible manner, entertaining his audience with satisfaction for a consider able time, notwithstanding they were fatigued with the other exercises of the day, and so situated  as to have to stand to listen at his speech.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

At the suggestion of Col. Williamson, the privilege was extended to any one who wished to take part in the discussion In behalf of Bell or Douglas. No one responding.

Mr. Julian Hartridge was loudly called for, and addressed the meeting in an able and eloquent manner, clearly defining hit position, and giving a satisfactory account of his conduct as a delegate from Georgia in the recent Democratic Presidential Conventions.

Col. Thomas M. Forman was also called for, and addressed the audience in a few pertinent and entertaining remarks. Col. DeLyon moved that the thanks of the meeting be tendered to the speakers, which was. It was then moved that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Valdosta Watchman, Savannah Morning News and the Georgia Forester.

The meeting then adjourned, with three cheers for Breckinridge and Lane, Jackson, Hartridge and Forman.

Wm. Zeigler, Chairman.
R. T. Roberds, Secretary.

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By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily.

 

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Reward Offered for Confederate Deserters

The first commercial activity at Ray City arose during the Civil War when Levi J. Knight and his son-in-law Thomas M. Ray constructed  a millpond and grist mill on Beaverdam Creek in Berrien County, GA. Captain Levi J. Knight, an old Indian fighter, raised the first company of Confederate soldiers to go forth from Berrien County, the Berrien Minute Men.

After enlisting at Nashville, GA in 1861 the Berrien Minute Men mustered in near Savannah, GA as a company of the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment.  Following this organization, Captain Knight resigned and the company came under the command of John C. Lamb.   In the first months after mustering in, the regiment trained and served picket duty on the Georgia coast.  The campfires of the Berrien Minute Men were made   on the coastal islands and marshes, first at Sapelo Battery, off the coast of Darien, GA, then in Chatham County, GA at Camp Tatnall, Camp Causton’s Bluff, Camp Debtford, Camp Mackey, and Camp Young.

At times the conditions in the Confederate camps of Chatham county were nearly intolerable. The weather was cold in the winter and hot and muggy in the summer.  Men were apt to become irritable. One soldier of the 29th Georgia Regiment killed another over a game of marbles. Some men were bored with picket duty. Some were frustrated and longed for action. Others just longed to go home to their farms and families. At Camp Young the harsh realities of Army life in the field would test the commitment of volunteer soldiers in the 29th Georgia Regiment.

The likely location of Camp Young was on Wylly Island about eight miles southeast of Savannah , on a tract of 110 acres which had been acquired  by Judge  Levi Sheftall D’Lyon at some time prior to 1860.  Judge D’Lyon was a prominent citizen and city court judge of Savannah. He was also the father of Isaac Mordecai DeLyon and Leonorean DeLyon, who edited and published the South Georgia Watchman newspaper at Troupville, GA and later at Valdosta, GA.  Lenorean DeLyon is credited with giving Valdosta its name.    Judge D’Lyon himself was an enigma. He took great interest in supporting the Chatham Dispensary, “a free medical clinic and pharmacy for the poor.” He devoted much of his professional legal career to assisting free African-Americans in acquiring their own property, but he also profited from the business of buying and selling slaves.  In 1859 he called for a “vigilance committee for the better preservation of Southern Rights.” In 1861 he was acting as guardian for 48 “free persons of color” in Savannah, while at the same time working to establish a district court system in the new Confederate States of America.  In his will D’Lyon directed that five of his slaves be freed, but another 21 were sold in 1863 to liquidate his estate.

Wylly Island is a river island formed by a bifurcation of the Herb River.  According to a Civil War map of the defenses of Savannah,  Wylly Island was between Thunderbolt Battery, a Confederate artillery emplacement on St. Augustine Creek, and  Battery Daniels at Parkersburg on the Skidaway River.  Battery Daniels had several supporting batteries on the Herb River and Grimball’s Creek.

There is no remaining trace of these Confederate locations or of Camp Young. Some descriptions of Camp Young are found in the Civil War letters of William Washington Knight, son of Levi J. Knight.

At first, the Berrien Minute Men found fresh food was in short supply at Camp Young. Soldiers supplemented their camp diet either with food purchased in Savannah with their own money, or had food sent from home. William W. Knight’s  letter of January 4, 1863 written from Camp Young and addressed to his wife, Mary,  mentioned that fellow soldier J. P. Ponder had delivered a box of potatoes sent by her father. Knight wrote of being deployed without rations and of spoiled provisions – “blue beef that will stick to your hands equal to adhesive plaster.”  He asked her to send more potatoes, and pork if the weather was cold enough. Knight remarked on the high prices being gotten in Savannah for peanuts, corn, and bacon, and the shortage of bread. He also requested Mary send his mattress bed cover, iron shoe heels, “vial oil”, and carpet bag.

Deadly infectious diseases of all kinds were rampant in the crowded Confederate camps. The river delta land was low lying and prone to malaria. On February 28, 1862 Knight wrote, “We have a good many sick now with cold or pneumonia. Nineteen of our company on the sick list  this morning…” In early March, Knight himself was incapacitated by fever.

By mid-March soldiers’ letters home indicated that the supply of food at Camp Young was much improved.  But by the end of March Knight wrote of worsening weather conditions; “It is the worst time we have had this winter. The wind and rain from the North East. There is very little timber in that direct. It has all been cut down in front of the Batteries for over a mile.”

At Camp Young, the 29th Georgia Regiment  became part of a Brigade which also included the 25th and 30th Georgia Regiments, First Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters, and 4th Louisiana Battalion. In a Brief History of the Thirtieth Georgia Regiment, August Pitt Adamson, 1st Sergeant, Company E wrote about Camp Young:

Camp life at Savannah was far from being dull and was not at all monotonous.  Many little incident of a humorous nature occurred.  Sports of various kinds were engaged in, which were shared by both officers and men. Occasionally some of the boys would “run the blockade,” as it was called, and go to Savannah without leave, thus running the risk of being put upon double duty, or digging stumps, which were the usual punishments inflicted. One man of Company E [30th Regiment] could so well imitate the signature of the commanding officer, that he frequently gave himself and others leave to go to the city.  In such cases they always returned in time for drill, and but few knew of it. On one occasion at night, soon after we went to Savannah, a false alarm was given, the men were hastily aroused and called into line with their old flintlock guns; much confusion followed; some could not find their companies, some ran over stumps and against each other, and two or three of Company B fell into and old well, which was, however, very shallow, but they yelled loudly for help.  It was soon found to be a false alarm, gotten up by some of the officers to try the men and have some fun. We were provided good tents and, for the most part comfortably cared for, with plenty to eat, but some of the boys wanted a change of diet, and, discovering a flock of goats belonging to Judge De Lyon, a wealthy old gentleman who had a farm near the camps, the result was nearly all the goats disappeared, leaving the owner quite angry.  The boys would say the goats tried to run over them, and they had to act in self-defense.

While at Camp Young, William Knight reported the Berrien Minute Men  spent a great deal of the time in drill. They drilled in Company formation and as a Battalion and Brigade. When they weren’t drilling or on dress parade, they attended “Regimental School.” When they could get leave they went into Savannah to get personal provisions or to be entertained. When they couldn’t get leave some went absent without leave;  John W. Hagan wrote from Camp Young on March 19,  “I cannot get a pass to visit Savannah, and when I go I have to run the blockade and risk getting caught, but I will manage to slip the block.”

This is not to say the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th GA Regiment were idle.  Like the 30th Georgia Regiment and other units in their Brigade, they probably were engaged in the construction of fortifications, mounting artillery, and placing obstructions in the river channels.  They were certainly conducting picket duty, patrolling the islands below Savannah on the lookout for Federal scouts who might be probing the line of Confederate defenses around the city.  They made brief excursions by train into Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina to strengthen coastal defenses where Union forces threatened to attack.

The 29th Regiment remained at Camp Young through April; by May 12, 1863 they had rolled out to Jackson, MS in preparation for the Battle of Vicksburg. But before that departure, while stationed at Camp Young, twenty men of the 29th Georgia deserted the regiment. From the weeks and months the Special Order 15 was advertised, one can judge these were not men who just sneaked off to Savannah,  but were long gone.  Four of the deserters were from Company K, the Berrien Minute Men, including Elbert J. Chapman, Albert Douglas, Benjamin S. Garrett, and J. P. Ponder.

A reward of $30 was offered for each man  apprehended, $600 for the bunch.

Reward offered for capture of deserters from the 29th Georgia Regiment, Confederate States Army, including four deserters from the Berrien Minute Men, Company K. Advertised in the Savannah Republican newspaper.

Reward offered for capture of deserters from the 29th Georgia Regiment, Confederate States Army, including four deserters from the Berrien Minute Men, Company K. Advertised in the Savannah Republican newspaper.

$600 REWARD.
Headq’rs 29th Reg’t GA. Vols.,
Camp Young, near Savannah, March 12, 1863.
SPECIAL ORDERS,
No. 15.
Deserted from this Regiment at Camp near Savannah, the following named enlisted men:

      Private FREEMAN BRIDGES, Co. B, is 22 years of age, 5 feet 7 1/2 inches high, has dark complexion, black eyes and dark hair.   Enlisted in Franklin county, Ga.
      Private DAVID CLAY, Co. C, 28 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches high, has dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair.  Enlisted in Thomas County, Ga.
Private JOSEPH W. SINGLETARY, Co. C., 38 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, sallow complexion, blue eyes, dark  hair. Enlisted at Thomas county, Ga.
Private PATRICK FITZGERALD, Co. E, 46 years of age, 5 feet 11 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair.  Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
Private EDWARD ROTCHFORD, Co. E, 45 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
Private JOHN MULLER, Co. E, 26 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches high, dark hair, dark complexion and dark eyes. Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
Private DAVID WILLIAMS, Co, E, 40 years of age, 5 feet high, brown eyes, light brown hair, and reddish complexion. Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.

     Private S. A. HALL, Co. F. 20 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, dark complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.  Enlisted at Thomasville, Ga.
     Private WM. HARVEY, Co. F, 45 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, light complexion, blue eyes, gray hair. Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
     SYRE CHRISTIAN, Co. F, 40 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair.  Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
     JAMES M. TOHEL, Co. F, 85 years of age 5 feet 9 inches high, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. Enlisted at Savannah, Ga.
     Private C. R. OLIVER, Co. H, 29 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, light complexion, blue eyes, dark hair.  Enlisted at Stockton, Ga.
      Private J. R. JACOBS, Co. H. 22 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair.  Enlisted at Stockton, Ga.
      Private F. F. F. GRIFFIN, Co. I, 40 years of age, 5 feet 10 1/2 inches high, dark complexion, black eyes, and dark hair.  Enlisted in Thomas County, Ga.
     Private N. P. GANDY, Co. I, 30 years of age, 5 feet 6 1/2 inches high, dark complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.  Enlisted in Thomas County, Ga.
     Private WM. BARWICK, Co. I, 38 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, light complexion, grey eyes.  Enlisted in Thomas County.
     Private ELBERT J. CHAPMAN, Co. K, 31 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, dark complexion, blue eyes, sandy hair.  Enlisted in Berrien county.
     Private ALBERT DOUGLAS, Co. K, 32 years of age, 6 feet high, fair complexion, grey eyes, auburn hair.  Enlisted in Berrien county.
     Private BENJAMIN S. GARRETT, Co. K, 25 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, black hair.  Enlisted in Berrien county.
     Private J. P. PONDER, Co. K, 31 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, sallow complexion, blue eyes, and sandy hair.  Enlisted at Savannah.

A reward of thirty dollars is offered for the apprehension of either of the above named men, delivered at these headquarters or confined in a safe jail.
By order of W. J. Young,
Col.Comd’g 29th Reg’t Ga. Vols.
Geo. P. McRee, AdjL

After deserting from the 29th Georgia Regiment:

  • Elbert J. Chapman fled to the west where he joined another unit and fought with determination. He was later charged with desertion from the 29th Georgia Regiment, court-martialed and executed by firing squad.  After the war, a pension for his indigent wife was denied.
  • Benjamin S. Garrett was later shot for being a spy.
  • Albert Douglas left the Berrien Minute Men “absent without leave” in December 1862 and was marked “deserted.”  After deserting the 29th Regiment Douglas enlisted in the 26th Georgia Infantry fighting with Army of Northern Virginia in Virginia, where his unit was engaged in the Battle of Brawners Farm. He subsequently served in a number of units beforedeserting and surrendering to the U. S. Army.  He was inducted into the U. S. Navy, but deserted that position in March 1865.  In 1870, and in subsequent census records his wife is identified as a widow. There is no record she ever applied for a Confederate Widow’s Pension.
  • J. P. Ponder left little historical record, other than the military muster rolls which document his enlistment and desertion. Even his name is confused, alternately given as Ponder or Powder  Both variations are listed in his Confederate military service records. The letters of William W. Knight indicate Ponder traveled back to Berrien county and returned to Camp Young in February 1863, and that Ponder was back in Berrien in March. In any case, it does not appear the man ever returned to the 29th Georgia Regiment.

Other Berrien County soldiers, such as N. M. McNabb who served with Company D, 12th Georgia Regiment, would be pressed into service to hunt fugitive deserters. According to a sworn statement by Mr. McNabb, “late in the year, perhaps September 1864, the Georgia Militia were  at Griffin, Ga Ordered by the Governor to stack arms and return home until further orders, which we did. After getting home, the Enrolling Officers here at home pressed us in to aid them in hunting Deserters.”

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The name of Valdosta

In 1912, the Valdosta Times ran a pair of articles about the naming of the city of Valdosta.  It is said that the town was named by  Col. Lenoreon D. DeLyon, editor of the South Georgia Watchman, which was published at Troupville and later at Valdosta, GA. According to Yesterday & Today, newsletter of the Lowndes Historical Society, Leonoran DeLyon, as editor, and [half] brother Isaac Mordecai DeLyon, as publisher, purchased the Georgia Watchman [Thomasville] newspaper very early in 1858 and moved it to Troupville. They were sons of Judge Levi S. D’Lyon, of Savannah, GA, whose Chatham county property would be the site of an encampment of the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment in the early stages of the Civil War.

Valdosta Times
February 18, 1912

The Name of Valdosta and Who Bestowed It

      Valdosta is not so old that knowledge of the man who gave it its name, or the origin of its unduplicated appellation, should be lost in the mists of antiquity, but nevertheless there are all sorts of answers to the question who named the town and where the name came from.
    The most generally accepted statement is that is was called after Governor Troup‘s old home in Laurens county. Another theory is that when the founders of the village that was to become the capital of Lowndes county and the future metropolis of South Georgia were casting about for a name for it, a poetically minded member happened to think of a beautiful Italian valley, the Vale de’Osta, and forthwith Valdosta was christened.
    The Times, though it may not know it origin, is able to make a definite statement as to the identity of the man who gave Valdosta its name. He was Lenorean DeLeon, editor of the Wiregrass Watchman, at old Troupville, in 1858-59, the first newspaper printed in Lowndes county.
    This statement is made on authority of Mr. I. L. Griffin, a pioneer citizen who was born at Troupville, and who knows the history of Valdosta from its founding.  Mr. Griffin states that after Valdosta was established and the county site moved from Troupville, Mr. DeLeon, who was a very talented man, suspended publication of his paper and moved along with the majority of Troupville’s population to the new town, where he became head of the village school, which he taught for several terms. He was an old-time, well-read Southern gentleman,of French extraction,and came to this section from Savannah.  About the close of the Civil War he removed to Texas, where he spent his remaining days.  His extensive reading made him familiar with foreign history and countries, and lends strength to the statement that he named the new town after the Italian valley.
     The new county proposition, or rather the clamor for county seats, was as insistent in those days as they are now, and the establishment of Valdosta was partly due to the demand of the people in the western part of the Greater Lowndes, for a division and a county seat for themselves. Brooks was thus cut off and Quitman established as the county seat, with Little river as the boundary.
     With its western half gone, a commission was appointed to select a new site for the county seat, which would be a little nearer the center of the abbreviated territory. After looking around, the commissioners decided that this was the ideal location for the county seat site, though it would still be near the western border.  They did not think the flat lands to the east and south so well adapted for the laying out of a town, while to have gone to the north would have placed the county seat too far away from the southern border. Four hundred and ninety acres of land were then purchased, the new town laid out and the name supplied by Mr. DeLeon. The latter fact, Mr. Griffin states, was well-known to many of the older citizens, among them Capt. W. H. Briggs and Mr. A. Converse, Sr., who lived at Troupville.
     The father of Col. W.S. West was the member of the legislature from Lowndes when Brooks county was formed and introduced the bill authorizing the moving of the county seat from Troupville to Valdosta.

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Valdosta Times
February 18, 1912

“Val-De-Osta” Was Name of Troup’s Farm

     An article that appeared in the Times last Friday in regard to the origin of Valdosta’s name has caused a good deal of comment in this city and section, among old-timers especially.
      The Times has a communication from an old resident of Valdosta which says: “In regard to your article in the issue of February 14, ‘The Man Who Named Valdosta’, the facts are these: Lenora DeLeon, whom I knew personally before he went to Texas in 1867 or 1868, named Valdosta after Governor Troupe’s plantation in Laurens county, old Troupeville having been named after the rugged old governor. See the suggestion of one by the other.
      “But it is a historical fact that Governor Troupe named his plantation after the Alpine Val-de-osta.”
These facts have several times been printed by the Times.
The confusion seems to have arisen by claiming that Valdosta was named after the Alpine valley and town of that name, when, as a matter of fact, it was named after Governor Troupe’s estate in Laurens county, the name of his home be adopted for the new town, which was made up largely of people who came from a town named after Governor Troupe himself, old Troupeville.
The Savannah Morning News of Sunday contained a correspondence from Valdosta, which made it appear that Valdosta was named after the Alpine city and valley. If the Morning News had printed the entire article that was sent it the facts in the case would have appeared, as it was stated in the full article that Valdosta’s name was taken from Troupe’s home, though the original Valdosta was in Italy.
A year or two ago Bishop Pendleton sent to the public library of this city a book by Felice Ferrero, the Italian historian, who was thoroughly acquainted with the valley of Val-de-osta and who wrote a most interesting story of that valley and of its people. More than 1,000 years ago it was one of the most beautiful spots in Europe and the old castles, the sewerage and the splendid highways that were built then still exist, though in a dilapidated condition.
In the near future the Times hopes to review the story which was written by this Italian historian, reproduce many of the things which he wrote of the Valdostans who formerly inhabited the Alpine valley and who, in many of their characteristics, remind one of the sturdy, hard-headed Valdostans of South Georgia.

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