Historic Markers Across Georgia

Conyers Station

Marker ID:  l2
Location: 901 Railroad Street NW, Conyers, GA
County: Rockdale
Coordinates: N 33° 39.987    W 084° 1.074
  33.66645    -84.0179
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Conyers Station
War Comes to Conyers

—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

Had you been standing near this spot at midday on Thursday, November 17, 1864, looking west along the railroad track, you would have seen Union Major General William T. Sherman ride into Conyers with Brigadier General William P. Carlin's 1st Division of Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis's 14th Corps. During the next 24 hours, 13,500 men, 800 wagons and 4,800 mules would pass through this depot town, known then as "Conyers Station" (population 400), on their "March to the Sea."

Members of General Sherman's staff spent 1-1/2 hours in the home of Mrs. Amanda Scott located then on the southeast corner of Green and Scott Streets. Majors Henry Hitchcock, Joseph C. Audenreid and others may have their been given noonday meal by Mrs. Scott. Whether Sherman ate lunch on the big boulder near the Scott house, as local legend has it, or joined his officers inside, it seems certain his noonday meal was foraged locally. While in Conyers, newspapers Augusta dated up to November 13th were found. From them Sherman learned the Confederates were unaware of his plans for the march.

As Sherman's staff was leaving Mrs. Scott's home a group of local African-American men offered to volunteer. Colonel Amos Beckwith, Sherman's chief-commissary officer, hired three as teamsters. Others may have followed informally because all along the route slaves saw the march as their chance for freedom and many joined the column.

As General Sherman and the 1st Division of the 14th Corps marched east toward Covington the 2nd and 3rd Divisions moved into Conyers under Brigadier Generals James D. Morgan and Baird respectively. On orders to Georgia Railroad, soldiers pried up the rails and ties. "I
attached much importance to this destruction of the railroad, gave it my own
personal attention...,"
wrote Sherman. Ties were placed in great piles and burned, while red-hot rails were twisted around tree trunks. These fires and the countless campfires of Federal soldiers were in stark contrast to the darkened homes of Conyers. "That night the army was encamped here the people were afraid to have light in the houses lest the Yankees come in," wrote Mrs. Julia Ann Stewart of Conyers. "I sat up all night long with matches and candle ready to light at the first alarm."

Other fires were not numerous because the depot building of Conyers Station had already been torched a few months earlier, on July 22nd, during a Federal cavalry raid commanded by Brigadier General Kenner Garrard. The remains of a Confederate locomotive and train, captured and burned in that raid, were still standing in the station yard as Sherman's troops arrived. The present depot was built in 1891 just east of its original site.

On the morning of November 18th, with the railroad destroyed, the 2nd and 3rd Divisions marched out of town. The Georgia Railroad, which had put the town of Conyers on the map, had now brought the war right through her front yard.

Erected Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc.

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org