A Civil War Ghost Town
—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —
Jacksonborough became the seat of government for Screven County in 1797. For fifty years it was a thriving community, but by 1847 it had declined and the county seat moved to Sylvania. According to legend an itinerant preacher named Lorenzo Dow visited Jacksonborough in 1821 and was treated badly by all locals but one, Seaborn Goodall. As Dow departed he cursed the town but blessed the Seaborn Goodall House (aka Dell-Goodall House) where he had stayed. By 1864 only Goodall's home remained. It was constructed in 1815.
Union Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis's 14th Corps arrived at Jacksonborough on Monday, December 5, 1864, making it their overnight headquarters. Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick used the house while Brigadier General Absalom Baird and his staff camped "in tents in the dooryard."
Major James A. Connolly of Baird's staff described Kilpatrick as "..the most vain, conceited, egotistical little popinjay I ever saw."
En route to Jacksonborough the 14th Corps divisions of Brigadier Generals William P. Carlin and James D. Morgan camped on December 3rd along the railroad between Millen and Augusta. General Carlin's division destroyed three miles of track. On the 5th General Morgans division marched through Jacksonborough, camping eight miles southeast. The divisions of Generals Kilpatrick
(cavalry) and Baird. (infantry), after their fight on, the 4th at Waynesborough against Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry, met Carlin's division at Jacksonborough.
Sergeant Timothy H. Pendergast of the 2nd Minnesota Infantry Regiment commented, "We are camped tonight m a cornfield of the sandiest description. All our bed clothes and our dishes are full of sand. [Jacksonborough] had, before this division camped here, a liberal allowance of 'crooked rail fence.' By the time our breakfast is cooked, the rail
fence will be numbered among the things that were."
Frequent skirmishes occurred with Confederate cavalry. The diary of Confederate Private Enoch D. John of the clandestine Shannon's Scouts, part of Terry's Texas Rangers, 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment of General Wheeler's command, mentions the area. "Moved on slowly, all tired, and weather bad. After riding ten miles, we heard of a party of Yanks and cut for them; found twelve at a house. We soon had six ready for the ditch, and six prisoners, and are now in Scriven county...We encamped five miles from Silvania. . .."
Homes and outbuildings were often burned in retaliation for Southern resistance or for blocking roads to impede the Federal advance.
All Federals departed Jacksonborough on December 6th. The cavalry division divided. One brigade rode through Sylvania to join the 20th Corps near Springfield while the other continued with the 14th Corps toward Ebenezer Creek.
Following the death of Seaborn Goodall in 1868 the house was sold in 1870 to Dr. Julian P. Dell. The house has been restored by the Brier Creek chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Background: Seaborn Goodall House, aka Dell-Goodall Home
Left middle: Union Brigadier Generals H. Hudson Kilpatrick, Absalom Baird, and William P. Carlin
Middle bottom: Members of Terry's Texas Rangers, 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment
Right top: Approximate routes of the "March to the Sea" through coastal Georgia in November & December 1864
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