GCGSI March Meeting: Civil War Battles and Soldiers in North Georgia
March 16 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pmFree
The Gilmer County Genealogical Society will hold its March meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. in the lower level meeting room of the Gilmer County Library. John H. Tolbert, Living History Interpreter and Civil War historian, will present “Civil War Battles and Soldiers in North Georgia,” describing the Civil War battles that occurred in North Georgia, particularly those involving the Atlanta Campaign and the 1864 Battle of Bucktown in Gilmer County. He will also provide information about the recruitment of soldiers and the military units raised in the North Georgia area, both Confederate and Union, as this portion of the state was greatly divided about the War Between the States.
Civil War historians have written that Southerners, including Georgians, were not united in their support for secession. The Civil War home front in Georgia, far from reflecting unity in a common cause, was filled with conflict and dissent. Social and economic divisions set Georgians against each other, and that undermined full support for the Confederacy well before the war’s end.
Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign (1863-1864) saw Federal troops occupying the North Georgia area, testing the loyalties of soldiers that survived the battles. As the home front collapsed, they had to decide if they should remain in the army and continue to fight, or return home to protect their families and property. Their decisions were magnified by a lack of trust for both Unionists and Confederates, at home and elsewhere, as both engaged in guerilla warfare, stole resources from citizens, and created another war within the war. Learn more about this North Georgia history, with the citizens’ internal and external conflict, from John H. Tolbert on March 16.
John H. Tolbert, raised in Atlanta, was named for his great grandfather John Hinton Tolbert, a fireman in the Battle of Atlanta, a survivor of Reconstruction, and the inspiration for his father’s lifelong interest in the Civil War. His father encouraged his son’s interest at a very early age, gifting him with history books throughout the years as he began to develop into an avid amateur historian.
In 1972, Tolbert’s father and mother, along with their friends, Horton and Dotty Rucker, became the first Living History volunteers at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. These programs at the park were very successful, and they were instrumental in enriching their son’s ongoing interest of history.
Following in his parents’ footsteps, Tolbert became a regular Living History volunteer at the park until the early 1990’s when his career In law-enforcement prohibited his regular attendance. After 30 years with the Roswell Police Department, Tolbert retired in 2010 with the rank of detective sergeant. Shortly after retirement , he returned to the park to resume his participation in sponsored Living History events.
Tolbert married Jean Leonard in 1986 and they have been happily married since. When both were retired, they moved to their current home in Talking Rock. Tolbert continues to participate in Living History programs, and is often asked to speak with school and other civic groups about events of the Civil War.
Be sure to mark your calendar for GCGSI’s monthly meeting on Saturday, March 16, at 2:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Gilmer County Library for John H. Tolbert’s presentation “Civil War Battles and Soldiers in North Georgia.” This meeting is open to the public, and admission is free.
(Original art in photograph by Dalton, GA artist Ellen Anthony, https://ellenanthonyart.com/…/confederates-riding….)