This month in history
By Erica O’Neal
CORDELE – During this month in November 1864, the area that is now Cordele was temporarily the capital of Georgia for a few days near the end of the American Civil War. The capital of Georgia was located in Milledgeville throughout the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865. The statehouse had to be evacuated when Union General William T. Sherman came to the city in his March to the Sea. General Sherman chose to spare the capitol from burning, but Union troops ransacked the building.
When Union forces took control of Milledgeville, the state government fled to different locations around the state. Governor Joseph E. Brown left Macon to escape the March to the Sea and went to an area that’s now known as Cordele. According to Joe Wright, chairman of Flint Area Historical Society, Governor Brown was carrying the Official State Seal of Georgia.
“The seal is the symbol of the state’s authority,” Wright said.
Wherever the State Seal is carried, that’s where the new capital of the state will be.
Brown carried the State Seal to his farm house which he called the “Dooly County Place” for a few days before moving back to Milledgeville. The city of Cordele didn’t exist yet until it was incorporated in 1889.
Governor Brown’s house was replaced in 1890 by the Suwanee Hotel, located in what has now become downtown Cordele.