June 11th of this year is the 150th anniversary of perhaps the most horrific event in the 275-year history of Darien, Georgia, for it was on that date in 1863 that Union army forces looted, vandalized, then finally burned to the ground most of the completely undefended, and mostly uninhabited, town in one of the most controversial incidents of the Civil War.
There will be appropriate commemorative events is recognition of the event during May and June, culminating on Saturday, June 15th in Darien with re-enactments, tours and exhibits for the public.
I am conducting two lectures in association with the observances and encourage all who are interested to try to attend one or both. On Sunday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m. I will present a slide lecture at the Darien First Presbyterian Church about antebellum Darien and McIntosh County, setting the context, or "backstory", for the burning of the town. Then on Sunday, June 9th, also at 3:00, this time at the St. Cyprian's Church in Darien, I will lecture about the burning of the town, its consequences and ramifications.
These talks are highlights of an active spring and summer, that has included my lectures about topics as diverse as Scottish settlement in coastal Georgia, Roswell King and plantation management in Liberty County, Georgia, and the U.S. Navy of the Early Republic, focusing on the naval war of 1812. I will also be teaching coastal history classes on behalf of the Learning Center in Savannah, the education and outreach arm of Senior Citizens of Savannah, Inc. Those interested in the once-a-week classes in July and August should contact the Learning Center for information.
I have been working with friends and colleagues in recent months doing research on the early archaeological field investigations on Sapelo Island conducted in 1871 and 1896 by William McKinley and Clarence Bloomfield Moore, respectively. Very interesting stuff! This is in relation to my forthcoming paper "Land Ownership and Settlement Patterns on Sapelo Island, 1865-1970" which will be published this summer and will be available free to the public in both print and electronic versions.