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March to the Sea tour set April 2

 One of the most important campaigns of the American Civil War occurred in Georgia when Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s blue-coated soldiers conducted their March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah. 

The public is invited to join Dr. John K. Derden, professor emeritus of hHistory at East Georgia State College, on April 2 for a day tour through Emanuel, Jenkins and Burke counties retracing the route of Sherman’s soldiers as they moved through the area on their way to the coast. Participants will travel some of the actual roads (among the best preserved in the state) traversed by Sherman’s soldiers and defended by Confederate troops, see several camp sites actually used by the general and visit antebellum plantation sites.

In addition, Derden, who recently published the first full-length, documented history of Camp Lawton (The World’s Largest Prison: The Story of Camp Lawton [Mercer University Press, 2012]), the Confederate prison located on the grounds of what is now Magnolia Springs State Park, will lead a tour of the site and give an illustrated talk about its history and its resurrection in the public mind as a result of the ongoing archeological findings there. Throughout the day, local anecdotes pertaining to the March will be shared relating to the Union soldiers, the Confederate forces arrayed against them, and the local citizens they encountered, both slave and free.

This year’s event will mark the 32nd anniversary of the tour, and this year will mark the 157th anniversary of the March and the operation of Camp Lawton. Anyone with an interest in Georgia history, the Civil War, local history, or the past in general will enjoy this opportunity.

The tour will begin on the campus of East Georgia State College in Swainsboro at 9 a.m. The group will gather at the Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center located on Madison Dixon Drive and depart from there by bus after a brief orientation. Lunch will be provided during the tour, and the group should return by 6 p.m. The registration fee for the event is $80 per person and $10 for EGSC students. To register, visit or call Angie Williams at 478-289-2367. Registration ends March 25, 2022.

There is very little walking involved with the trip. However, dress comfortably and be prepared for weather changes. Join us for a day of fun, fellowship, learning and appreciation for the sacrifices of our forbearers as well as the rich heritage of our part of the state.