42 miles S of Athens; 150 miles E of Atlanta; 60 miles NW of Augusta
Founded in 1773, and the first city incorporated in the name of George Washington, the city of Washington is one of the three most important antebellum towns in Georgia, ranking along with Madison and Milledgeville. It was not visited by General Sherman on his notorious Grand Tour of Georgia, and, as a result, still contains a wealth of antebellum architecture.
Washington was settled by Southern planters, mainly from Britain, who in time rebelled against British rule. At the nearby Battle of Kettle Creek, 8 miles southwest of town on Kettle Creek, off Ga. 44, the settlers destroyed the British stranglehold on Georgia.
Heard's Fort, later Washington, became the temporary capitol of Georgia in 1780. The cotton gin was perfected by Eli Whitney at Mount Pleasant plantation, just east of Washington.
In the closing hours of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis and members of his cabinet fled here to sign the last official papers to dissolve the Confederacy. The site was the Heard House, which no longer stands, although a marker on the main square in Washington indicates where this historic event took place.
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