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George Hillyer

George Hillyer

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George Hillyer was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician, serving as the 29th Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, as well as a state assemblyman and senator. He was also an officer in the Confederate States Army
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...



Hillyer was born in Athens, Georgia
Athens, Georgia
Athens-Clarke County is a consolidated city–county in U.S. state of Georgia, in the northeastern part of the state, comprising the former City of Athens proper and Clarke County. The University of Georgia is located in this college town and is responsible for the initial growth of the city...

, one of eight children of Judge Junius Hillyer
Junius Hillyer
Junius Hillyer was an American politician and lawyer who served two terms in the United States Congress.Hillyer was born in Wilkes County, Georgia...

, a United States Congressman and solicitor of the U.S. Treasury. He graduated from Mercer University
Mercer University
Mercer University is an independent, private, coeducational university with a Baptist heritage located in the U.S. state of Georgia. Mercer is the only university of its size in the United States that offers programs in eleven diversified fields of study: liberal arts, business, education, music,...

 in 1854, studied law, and, starting in 1857, served two years in the Georgia General Assembly
Georgia General Assembly
The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is bicameral, being composed of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate....

. He was a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention...

 in Chicago, Illinois. He married Ellen Emily Cooley, and raised a family.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, he raised a Walton County
Walton County, Georgia
Walton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2009, the population was 87,311. The county seat is Monroe.This county is a part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area ....

 company known as the "Hillyer Rifles" in the late spring of 1861. The men were mustered into the Confederate Army on June 13, with Hillyer elected as the captain of Company C of the 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry
9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry
The 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-History:The 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry formed in June 1861 and contained men from around the State of Georgia. The regiment fought at Gettysburg, Siege of Knoxville, and...

. He and the regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 were sent by train to Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and assigned to the newly created brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 of George "Tige" Anderson
George T. Anderson
George Thomas Anderson was a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Nicknamed "Tige," Anderson was noted as one of Robert E...

 in what became the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

. Hillyer saw extensive fighting at Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

 (briefly commanding the regiment) and Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

, where he fought at the famed "Wheatfield" on July 2, 1863. The 9th Georgia lost half of its 340 men in the fight, and Hillyer's company suffered considerable losses. With all the senior officers wounded or killed, Hillyer assumed command of the regiment for the rest of the Gettysburg Campaign
Gettysburg Campaign
The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July 1863, during the American Civil War. After his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved north for offensive operations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The...

, and wrote the official report of the 9th Georgia's service in the battle.

Hillyer resigned his captain's commission in November 1863 to become an auditor for the Western & Atlantic Railroad at the request of Governor Joseph E. Brown
Joseph E. Brown
Joseph Emerson Brown , often referred to as Joe Brown, was the 42nd Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865, and a U.S. Senator from 1880 to 1891...

, who preferred a military man for the role as the railroad was the main supply route for General Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

's Confederate army. Early in 1864, Hillyer organized the State Road Battalion (consisting mainly of railroad men) and he was placed in command of the defenses of the railroad with the rank of major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

. Seeing action against cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 raiders during the Atlanta Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles fought in the Western Theater of the American Civil War throughout northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta during the summer of 1864. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May...

, Hillyer performed well, but the railroad eventually fell to the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

. He and his remaining men surrendered to Federal officers on May 10, 1865.

Starting in 1870, he served four years as a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 in the Georgia Senate
Georgia Senate
The Georgia State Senate is the upper house of the Georgia General Assembly .-Composition:According to the state constitution of 1983, this body is to be composed of no more than 56 members elected for two-year terms. Current state law provides for 56 members...

. He served as the Georgia delegate to the United States Centennial Commission that planned and organized the country's Centennial celebrations and the International Exhibition of 1876. He was Judge of the Superior Courts of the Atlanta Circuit for several years before resigning.

In 1885 served one term as mayor of Atlanta, during which time he became an expert on municipal water services, publishing several related articles and serving on the Atlanta Water Commission for many years. For many years, he was on the board of trustees for Spelman Baptist Seminary, as well as Vice-Chairman for the Georgia Railroad Commission.

He died at the age of 92 and was buried in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery.


My Gettysburg Battle Experiences (edited by Gregory A. Coco), 2005, Thomas Publications (Gettysburg, PA)

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