Heartland of the Confederacy
Civil War in Georgia
Heartland of the Confederacy
Civil War in Georgia
"Family History Preserved"
University of Georgia archivisit Linda Aaron, with Mary Johnson and Sindney Fortson have preserved more than 100 Civil War letters that were donated by Johnson and Fortson.

Leaders Life Legacy

Media Info

For Immediate Release:

Sharing Stories of Life, Legacy, Leaders
In a Turbulent Time



The brightest young men of their generation walk energetically across their university campus, passionately debating what will happen to their lives, their homes, their hopes for the future if war is declared in an effort to separate from their mother country. It is less than a 100 years since their ancestors repelled a foreign army and established a new independent nation. Their convictions vary from a commitment to find a peaceful compromise to apprehension that war will bring disaster that will affect them for many generations to a belief that victory for their cause will be achieved in a matter of months. It could be many countries and many times, but this is northeast Georgia in the 1840s and 1850s. The debaters include University of Georgia students Crawford Long, Howell Cobb, Alexander Stephens, Benjamin Hill and T.R.R. Cobb, who all will go on to shape the destiny of the American South.

When civil war erupts in 1861, each of these men will choose to fight to defend his homeland. Those who survive the War will work to heal the damage and achieve national reconciliation.

Now, through Georgia's Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail, visitors interested in Civil War history can experience these stories of culture, crisis and courage. The Trails are the result of the collaborative efforts of several northeast Georgia counties, communities, historical attractions and museums. Four years ago, they formed Georgia's Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail, a non-profit organization to develop and publicize the region's heritage resources.

"What makes this Trail unique is the number and variety of sites that showcase life during this turbulent period of the mid-1800s," says Heartland of the Confederacy Founder Ron Evans. "By visiting their homes, reading their papers and walking in their footsteps, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the lives and families of individuals who served their homeland before, during and after the Civil War." Because many of these communities have remained small towns off the beaten path, their citizens have been able to preserve more of their historic past in a more prominent way.

The Leaders Trail begins in Gainesville, continues through Jefferson to Athens and then to Washington, Crawfordville, and Milledgeville and shows the homes, artifacts and atmosphere associated with General James Longstreet, Robert E. Lee's second in command at the Battle of Gettysburg; Generals and brothers T.R.R. Cobb and Howell Cobb of Athens; Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and Secretary of State Robert A. Toombs of the Confederate government, and Civil War Governor Joseph E. Brown. Other sites display the stories of Crawford W. Long, a physician credited with the discovery of ether anesthesia in 1842, and Benjamin H. Hill and Henry W. Grady, who became voices for the "New South" following the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Our website, CivilWarInGeorgia.com, provides comprehensive travel information about the Trail and the region. Visitors can plan trips, print out maps and link to resources to make their explorations easier and more pleasant.

This unique trail system is very fortunate to have six professionally staffed welcome centers to assist visitors during their exploration of Georgia's Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail. One can begin the Leaders Trail tours anywhere along the trail, but it is wise to take advantage of the wealth of travel information that the cities of Athens, Gainesville, Jefferson, Madison, Milledgeville and Washington can offer. Maps, brochures and accommodations information are all at one's fingertips at the welcome centers. Each city and county is unique in charm, attractions and sightseeing adventures. To begin a journey along Georgia's Civil War Heartland Leaders Trail, visit the website, www.CivilWarInGeorgia.com or contact 1-800-653-0603.