The Last Days of the Confederacy in Northeast Georgia
By Ray Chandler
Reviewed by J. Keith Jones
Ray Chandler has been a writer in many forms for a number of years, but this is his first book. “The Last Days of the Confederacy in Northeast Georgia” is a book I read with great interest. As a fellow native of Northeast Georgia, let me first clear up a misconception I frequently deal with in people from other states. Northeast Georgia is a separate and distinct region from North Georgia. North Georgia contains the mountain counties bordering North Carolina and Tennessee. Northeast Georgia constitutes the counties in the sprawling Piedmont region below the mountains meandering along the Savannah River down to around Augusta.
Naturally I grew up on many of these stories, but as history often is, they were of the often told oral history variety which contains pieces and parts of fact and myth and are often told out of order. This is the first coherent narrative of these stories backed up by source documents giving the true facts of these scattered histories in their full context. Chandler has done an excellent job of presenting these facts and telling them in as interesting a fashion as any of the many story tellers I have heard the pieces and parts from over the decades.
As is often the case, the people of Northeast Georgia have little idea of just how rich their history really is, as the histories of the so-called American Civil War tends to focus almost entirely on Virginia. Virginia, of course, played a central role in the life of the Confederate States of America, but few people realize just how many pivotal characters in this great drama of our nation’s past were from this seemingly insignificant agrarian region. Northeast Georgia remains largely rural and agrarian, but the contributions it made in both people and experiences should not be overlooked. Ray Chandler does a wonderful job of presenting this story for all to read. I highly recommend this book to any who want to broaden their knowledge of Civil War history and maintain that it is now a must read for anyone who has ever called this area home.