It’s 2017 and that means it’s time to get out and explore! Why not explore Covington’s rich history with your very own Civil War Self-Guided Trail? Make a historical weekend trip to Covington using this link. Just click “Book Now” and you’ll be one step closer to your historically Hollywood of the South walking tour!
One of the greatest historical events to occur was the Capture of Covington, by General William T. Sherman’s Federal Calvary. Led by General Garrard and his “Rough Riders”, the Union army rode through Covington and ransacked most of its beautiful homes. Luckily, some of these sites still exist and most are open to the public. Take a journey into the past and discover what life was like when Sherman’s men marched through Georgia. We’ve even taken the liberty of creating a “Must-See” list, which plots Sherman’s devastation from the very first day of occupation, on July 22nd 1864, to his troop’s last raid in November.
Emory College at Oxford: The College was a major hospital during the War. Many soldiers who had been wounded in northern battles were hospitalized here. Because of its location, Emory College was probably the first recorded instance of Union soldiers occupying the town. Orderly Sergeant Water A. Clark wrote of the occupation of Newton County by Sherman’s troops in his journal. “The old college chapel where I had attended morning and evening prayer during my college course has been converted into a hospital dining room. On July 22 a few days after my arrival […] the expected raid had been materialized and Garrard’s division of Federal cavalry had possession of the town.”
The First United Methodist Church of Covington: As the Union army decimated the South and crippled the Confederate lines, the Covington Methodist Church became both a sanctuary and a hospital. As the battles raged all around, Covington doctors and nurses tended to the wounded from both sides. The pews of the church had to be removed to accommodate the rising number of casualties. From 1861 to 1865, the church saw the decimation of human life and the horrors of battle first hand. One can only imagine the agony of soldiers ripped apart by gun fire or amputations that occurred without the aid of anesthesia. Even now, there is said to be traces of blood spatter underneath the carpets, serving as a gruesome reminder of the church’s history.
Dixie Manor: The stately home is the only remaining antebellum brick two-story still in Covington. During the Capture of Covington, Ben Camp, a member of the 16 Georgia Calvary, was on leave to recover from an illness. He feared being captured, and turned to the Dixie Manor residents, the Rogers, for help. It is reported that they helped him by hiding him in a dry well in their backyard, which they covered with a chicken coop. The ruse worked and Camp was saved.
Burge Plantation: In November of 1864, the 14th Corps of the left wing of Sherman's two-pronged march to the sea, accompanied by Sherman himself, swept through and devastated Burge Plantation. Dolly Burge's entry in her diary November 19, 1864 reads: “…like Demons they rush in. My yards are full. To my smoke house, my Dairy, Pantry, kitchen, and cellar like famished wolves they come, breaking locks and whatever is in their way. “The house, though ransacked for valuables and food, was not destroyed, thanks in part to the fact that an officer of the Union was acquainted with Dolly's brother in Chicago.
Get out and explore Covington, this New Year! Remember to document your adventures on our Facebook page and use #FirstDayHikes. You could be entered for some fabulous prizes and a chance to be featured on our website.