Milledgeville, Ga.

In January 1861, at Milledgeville, Georgia, St. Marys’ representatives voted for secession from the Union and formed the “Saint Marys Volunteers,” later called the “Camden Chasseurs.” All able-bodied men were sent to join the fight, which left the town vulnerable to Union raiding from Amelia Island.

In November 1862, the steamer Neptune and gunboat Mohawk, under the command of Col. Ritch with the 9th Maine Regiment, invaded St. Marys. Their troops were immediately fired upon by local forces and they fired back in retaliation. Folklore says firing continued until the Seal sisters came toward the waterfront offering surrender. A Captain Hughes had decided to leave in favor of returning to Fernandina, but when shots were fired, Union forces descended upon St. Marys and much of the town was left to ashes.

April 10, 1863 Edition of the Savannah Daily News: Federal troops “committed havoc” in St. Marys. They “gutted every house abandoned by its owner, carried off everything movable, and destroyed the remainder.”