The Civil War in Jenkins County
Jenkins County was not in existance until 1905. The actions and sites listed below were located in what was Burke County that became part of Jenkins.
With Gen. William T. Sherman's [US]
sweep through Georgia, Union calvary under the command of Brig. Gen. Judson
Kilpatrick [US] advanced toward Waynesborough (present day Waynesboro) in
late November 1864 with the intent of destroying the Central Railroad
bridge over Briar Creek. They also were to release any Union
prisoners being held at Camp Lawton just north of Millen. Confederate
calvary under Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler [CS] came down from Augusta and
prevented the destruction of the RR bridge although Union forces did destroy
some railroad track in the area. The Union calvary moved southwest to
rejoin Sherman's main force with Confederate calvary in pursuit. They
caught up with the Union forces at Buckhead Creek southwest of Waynesborough.
Union calvary supported by artillery stopped the Confederates and burned
the bridge over Buckhead Creek. Confederate loses were heavy.
See the battle summary found at the National Park Service website Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System (Reference 1 below). See also the follow-on battle (Battle of Waynesborough) (same reference), fought a few days after the Buckhead Creek battle.
There are two Georgia State historical markers in front of Buckhead Church. One marks the historic church (Big Buckhead Church), and the second one commemorates the Civil War battle (Calvary Action at Buckhead Church). A third marker (picture coming) is located at the intersection of US25 and CR81 (northwest corner of the intersection).
Directions: Take US25 (Waynesboro Highway) north from Millen. Turn left at the intersection of US25 and CR81 (Big Buckhead Church Road) at Perkins Community which is about 7.5 miles north of Millen. Follow the road west for about 3.5 miles to the Big Buckhead Church. Buckhead Creek bridge is just beyond the church.
Located about 5 miles north of Millen at what is today
Magnolia Springs State Park. Camp Lawton was a POW camp for Union prisoners and
was the largest camp ever built by the Confederacy for prisoners-of-war.
The stockade was designed to hold 40,000 prisioners but only 10,299 were
transferred from Andersonville by November 1864. The camp was only in use
a very short time - construction being completed in October 1864 and
evacuated in late November 1864 when the prisoners were moved by train to
Savannah - Sherman's advance was threatening to overrun the compound. Union
forces burned the railroad station at Millen on December 3, 1864.
Directions: Take US25 (Waynesboro Highway) north from Millen. Entrance to the Park will be on your right. There is a Georgia State historical marker (Magnolia Spring) on the west side of US25 directly across from the entrance to Magnolia Springs. There also is an information sign located about 100 yards from the park entrance on the right. Fort Lawton was located on the ridge to your right as you enter the Park. The stockade or prisoner compound was located downslope from the Fort and was approximately 1500 ft by 2000 ft with the long axis aligned roughly north-south. The spring creek formed by runoff from Magnolia Springs bisected the stockade. US25 was not built until the early 1900's (between 1926-1935) - the main north-south road during the Civil War ran beside the railroad tracks (the Augusta and Savannah RR) which are located about 1/4 mile east of Magnolia Springs.
(1) National Park Service
website Civil War Soldiers
& Sailors System.
(2) University of Georgia Civil War website Civil War in Georgia
(3) Eye of the Storm (book), by Private Robert Knox Sneden, 40th NY Volunteers [US]
(4) Images from the Storm (book), by Private Robert Knox Sneden, 40th NY Volunteers [US]
(5) Magnolia Springs Website Magnolia Springs
(1) National Park Service website Southeast Archeological Center.
If you are looking for ancestors from this area of central GA that served in the Civil War, check the muster rolls of the units formed in the (now) neighboring counties that gave up land to form Jenkins County. The counties and their creation dates are:
If you have information (pension rolls, muster rolls, etc) relating to the Civil War in what is now Jenkins County and would be willing to share, please contact me (Marvin Thorpe) so it can be added to this site.
Help preserve your heritage.
Confederate clipart courtesy of SCV Camp 1513
Maintained by Marvin Thorpe
Copyright © 2002-2004
Page updated 16 June 2004