Saturday, June 25, 2011

St. Stephens Episcopal Church - Milledgeville, Georgia

St. Stephens Episcopal Church
Built in 1843, Milledgeville's historic St. Stephens Episcopal Church is a unique landmark of General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating March to the Sea.

A prominent feature of Statehouse Square, St. Stephens was built in the days when Milledgeville was still the capital city of Georgia. The church stands almost in the shadow of the state's beautiful Old Capitol building and its walls once sheltered the worship of some of Georgia's most prominent citizens.

Episcopal churches in the South were major centers of secession sentiment during the years leading up to the Civil War. From the highest level down to the parish churches, Episcopalians heard strong messages from their leaders urging them to support Southern independence.

A Survivor of the March to the Sea
For this reason, Northern troops often desecrated Episcopal churches as they marched through the Southern states. This was the case at St. Stephens.

As Sherman's troops marched into Milledgeville on November 11, 1864, they quickly took note of St. Stephens Church. The pews were burned for firewood. The sanctuary was used as a stable for horses. Molasses was even poured down the pipes of the organ. The greatest damage, however, came as the Federals marched out of Savannah to continue their March to the Sea. The Confederate armories were set fire and a massive explosion caused by the combination of fire and munitions rocked Statehouse Square. The roof of the church was demolished by the blast.

Like most other Southern churches, however, St. Stephens Episcopal Church survived the war, rebuilt the roof in a new style, and remains active today.

To learn more about this historic Georgia church, please visit

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