The firing of a cannon in
By Debbie Luurie-Smith
A living history lesson took place in Clinton
illustrating life in a bustling community during Civil War times.
The bicentennial celebration of War Days took place May 5 & 6 with
the call to colors for the Confederate and Union troops camped in
historic Clinton, and the calendar would appear to have rolled
backwards when the streets of Clinton and the authentic camps opened
to the public.
Jones County is celebrating its 200th anniversary this
year, having been established a year before Clinton was settled in
1808, and the significance of the bicentennial serves to create
additional interest in the annual War Days event, which is a
fund-raiser for the Old Clinton Historic Society.
This year marks the 26th anniversary of the event. War
Days began as part of a spring celebration with a few re-enactors
being invited as almost an afterthought to the festival. The
popularity of the re-enactment so enhanced the event that War Days
emerged as the center of the activity. Added attractions for
this bicentennial year were two cemetery rambles and guided tour of
Clinton. The cemetery ramble was a new attraction last year
guided by local historian Earl Colvin. The Clinton Cemetery is
located next to Clinton United Methodist Church, covers 17 acres,
and is the largest 19th century cemetery in the county. (Link
to Cemeteries of Jones County).
It is believed that burials were made in the cemetery
as early as 1810, and Colvin said he has found inscriptions as early
as 1812. Many prominent Jones Countians are buried in the
cemetery, including Robert Vines Hardeman, and at least 25
Confederate veterans are buried on the grounds. Daniel Newnan
Smith is the highest ranking officer buried in the cemetery.
He was brigadier general of the Fifth Georgia Militia. James
Madison Gray, the man for whom the county seat was named, and Samuel
and Louisa Griswold were also laid to rest in Clinton. Colvin
said the history of the cemetery tells much of the story of Jones
County and the families at the heart of its growth.
Narration was given for re-enactment of two Civil War
battles, the Battle of Sunshine Church that actually took place in
Round Oak and the Battle of Griswoldville, which took place on
fields near Clinton. Sons of Confederate Veterans and
re-enactors from the southeast gather beneath wind-blown battle
flags on grassy fields in Old Clinton, once again defending it
against Sherman's Savannah-bound army. Grizzled veterans to
beardless recruits-both blue and gray- re-enacted the battles as the
rattle of musketry and the rolling of thunder canons rattle windows
in homes nearby.
Clinton is located 12 miles northeast of Macon, and
one-and-a-half miles southwest of Gray, just one block west of