Centennial Celebration (1876)

The United States of America was 100 years of age on July 4, 1876. The Civil War ended just a little rnore than ten years before. Georgia had been readmitted to the Union only five years before. Liberty County, still recovering from ravages of the war, nevertheless celebrated the centennial year in a colorful and patriotic way.


The Liberty Independent Troop, reorganized in 1872, was commanded by Captain William A. Fleming in 1876. He and his men made all of the arrangements for the commemorative activities. They invited the Chatham Artillery from Savannah, Georgia, to join them in the celebration.


The Chatham Artillery, Georgia Militia, traveled by train early on Independence Day from Savannah with a full com­plement of troops, four cannons, limber wagons, and horses. A committee from the Liberty Independent Troop met them at the McIntosh railroad depot, shared breakfast with them, and then escorted them to Hinesville.


Colonel Peter W. Fleming was the Marshal of the Day. Colonel William J. Winn and Private Theodore N. Winn made speeches of welcome when the Chatham Artillery arrived just outside of Hinesville and was met by all members of the Liberty Independent Troop. A large crowd followed the troops as they marched to courthouse square in Hinesville, where the celebration took place.


Politicians made patriotic speeches. John B. Mallard spoke on the history of Liberty County. At noon the Chatham Artillery, in 12 minutes, fired 100 rounds as a salute to the nation’s birthday. There was then plenty of food for every-one, on long tables on courthouse square, donated by private citizens.


In the afternoon, members of the Liberty Independent Troop took part in horsemanship contests for two cakes donated as prizes by private citizens. At the end of the day the Chatham Artillery was escorted back to McIntosh by the Liberty Independent Troop, and entrained for the return trip to Savannah.