The 150th anniversary of Camp Davis will be celebrated May 12 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., two-and-a-half miles north of Guyton on Highway 17.
Camp Davis was one of three Confederate instructional camps established in Georgia in 1862. The other two camps were located near Marietta and near Griffin.
There were a total of 4,125 troops trained at this site in early 1862. Infantry regiments trained at Camp Davis were the 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th and 51st regiments of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry. Training at this site lasted only about two and one-half months, after which the site was abandoned.
A letter from Gov. Joseph E. Brown on Sept. 16, 1861, established the camp. "I hereby accept the tender of the Oconee Grays, with not less than fifty, not more than eighty men, rank and file, armed with guns which they collected in the county; and order them to report to Brigadier General George P. Harrison, at Savannah, who will receive and muster them into the service of the state, and place them in Camp of Instruction at some point near the Central of Georgia Railroad; (probably in Effingham County) so soon as he can make the necessary arrangements of tents, provisions, & etc. to make them comfortable."
Camp Davis was located between the 32nd and 33rd mile marker of the Central Railroad. Camp Davis was named after the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. There was an endorsement by six citizens of Whitesville (later known as Guyton) recommending the site for Camp Davis sent to Gov. Brown. They were: J. Toole, M.D.; S.S. Weitman, J.P.; Issac L. Toole, Atty at Law,;E.J. Bird, M.D.; T.E. Bonrguins; J.Rahn.
On Feb. 11, 1862, Gov. Brown issued a lengthy proclamation to the people of Georgia regarding the need for additional volunteers "to serve for three years or during the war." This need for additional troops was the reason for the establishment of the three instructional camps in Georgia.
On Feb. 18, 1862 the Daily Morning News published "Important Military Orders, To meet the requisition of Confederate Government upon the State of Georgia, the following regulations are published for all concerned: 1)-Every able-bodied male white citizen, as well as alien, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, not already in military service, appear on parade ground, to be there enrolled in the defense of his country. 2)-On the day of assembling, the senior officer of the regiment will take the command, and proceed to form the regiment or battalion. 3)-Should the requisite number of volunteers not present themselves, the commander will make up the deficiency by draft. It is the duty of every Militia Officer to give notice within his division, that no one may plead ignorance as any excuse for absence. s/ Adjutant General Henry C. Wayne."
With the establishment of the site of the camp and the orders for volunteers to report for duty, the establishment of Camp Davis had been set.
The 150th anniversary celebration of Camp Davis is sponsored by the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureua. For more information, call 754-5565 or visit EffinghamCVB.com on the Web.
(Information on Camp Davis comes from a document by Chief Warrant Officer (ret.) Norman V. Turner. )