Savannah River, Effingham County

The Savannah River was one of Georgia’s original “superhighways” long before Europeans made contact. The river marks the state line between Georgia and South Carolina over much of its course; this is the view from the Highway 119 bridge near Clyo.

1 Comment


One response to “Savannah River, Effingham County

  1. Jesse Bookhardt

    This is a great picture of the river, Savannah. Without her Georgia History would be a nonstarter. Wonder how many Native Americans paddled their canoes along her waters? How many steamers slipped past her green banks and bluffs, and how many cotton bales were shipped from Augusta to Savannah? At the conclusion of the Civil War, the Steamer Governor Troup, loaded with too many bales of cotton and too many passengers, was traveling down the river under Federal military orders When she caught on fire and was ditched into the Carolina bank. Many Freedmen, White passengers, and crew were lost. Their bodies were reported floating down stream for miles over a period of time. Local newspapers reported the sad news. It seems that the Captain of the Governor Troup had been concerned about the over load of cotton and the poor condition of its packing, but had been instructed to proceed downstream anyway. After departure from Augusta, it wasn’t long before sparks form the stack lit the cotton and the flames spread quickly. The captain managed to direct the boat into the South Carolina bank but in doing so, many were drowned or otherwise injured. Such mishaps were rather common during the steamboat era.
    For those interested, they might do some research on this incident and the history of the Steamer Governor Troup. Briefly, she was a Confederate steamboat that operated on the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, and Oconee Rivers collecting taxes from plantations. Built on the Oconee in 1859, she first served the commercial trade between the up-country as far north and west as Hawkinsville and Dublin. During the War she became property of the Confederate Government. Late in the War on an ill-fated trip down stream, the crew was over taken by a band of Confedrerate deserters as the boat anchored at Town Bluff on the Altamaha near the forks of the Ocmulgee and Oconee ( today the location is near Hazlehurst in Jeff Davis County). While the steamers prepared to take on wood and water, it was attack by several armed men. Being overwhelmed by the armed band, the Captain and crew were forced to take the Troup downstream to Darien where the Federals had agreed to pay the raiders significant funds for their daring deed.
    The whole scheme had been planned by some of General Wilson’s staff out of Macon with approval from U. S. Headquarters in Savannah. When the Steamer reached Darien, the U. S. Navy commandeered the vessel resulting in a conflict of interest between the Navy and Army that was not settled until the war ended. In the mean time, an agreement between the two branches of the Military allowed the Army to use her on the Altamaha and Savannah water ways. It was on the Savannah where she met her fate with the terrible fire. This story has many more interesting facts that exist, but there is not room on a site like this to share. South Georgia Rivers were once the life line to the rest of the world. Rails and roads changed this over a period of time. Their history needs preservation before they too vanish into the void of the forgotten.

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