Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at the origins of the formation of Bulloch County.)
Alex M. Hitz's article, entitled "Georgia's Militia Districts," was published in the Georgia Bar Journal in 1956. Hitz disclosed "Militia Districts had their origin in the colonial Acts of Jan. 24, 1755 and Sept. 29, 1773."
Hitz shared the first Militia Act of Nov. 15, 1778 allowed officers to be elected by the Militiamen. The second Militia Act of Feb. 26, 1784 established Militia districts as the civil divisions in Georgia's counties.
On Feb. 22, 1796, the House passed “An Act to Organize the Militia in the Several New Counties of This State” directed “the Governor (to) organize the militia (in) Bullock, Jackson, Jefferson and Lincoln.”
The Georgia Militia had 13 brigades, with the 2nd brigade was comprised of militia from Bulloch, Burke, Emanuel, Jefferson, Montgomery, Screven and Tattnall.
The first Georgia Militia Districts (GMD) in Bulloch County were the Sink Hole (44th GMD); the Club House (45th GMD); Lockhart, (46th GMD); Briar Patch, (47th GMD); and Hagin (48th GMD).
By 1807, there were 275 Militia Districts in Georgia's 26 "headright Counties." With each new county's expansion, another new Militia District was formed.
After the 1st GMD “realignment,” more GMDs’ were created in Bulloch County: Statesboro, the 1209th GMD; Laston, the 1320th GMD; and Bay, the 1340th GMD.
With the 2nd GMD realignment, Bulloch gained new GMD's: Nellwood, 1523rd GMD, was created from parts of Briar Patch (47th), Hagin (48th) and Bay (1340th).
Emit (1547th GMD), was created from parts of Sink Hole (44th), Bay (1340th); and Nellwood (1523rd). Blitch (1575th GMD), was created from parts of Laston (46th), Statesboro (1209th), and Hagin (48th).
Metter (1685th GMD), was created from parts of Club House (45th) and Laston (1320th). The fifth and final new district was Portal (1716th GMD), created from a part of Laston (1320th).
The 3rd GMD realignment made the 45th GMD Register; made the 47th GMD Stilson; made the 1523rd GMD Brooklet; and created Nevils (1803rd GMD) from a part of Bay, the 1340th GMD.
The Nov. 28, 1902 edition of the Statesboro News included a letter written by former Bulloch Countian A.J. Gibson about life in early Bulloch.
Gibson revealed that the formation of the first Bulloch Militia Company.
"It was made up almost entirely through the influence and exertion of Dr. L.C. Belt, a wealthy planter, whose plantation lay on the Ogeechee River, north of Statesboro."
And, "the company was made up in May and the first days of June 1861, and was organized at Statesboro on Monday, the 10th day of June 1861. Dr. Belt was unanimously elected captain."
He revealed a certain "A.J. Gibson (who was elected) first Sergt.; Robert Fulcher, 2nd Sergt.; and Z.A. Bennett, 3rd Sergt., (and stated) the company was 100 strong."
He then disclosed "We started from Statesboro on the evening of the 10th, went as far as Wayne Moore's place and camped the first night, and he and his good lady, Mrs. Kitty Moore, showed us every kindness."
Then, "on the 11th we marched to Capt. Belt's residence near the Ogeechee River and after taking a rest, waded the river. I think the place was called "Rocky Ford."
And, "a train waited for us (at) the railroad, and we arrived at Atlanta on (the) 12th. We went into the camp at Walton springs, (where) we were mustered into service as company I, 9th Georgia Regiment."
Gibson shared how "Every male person between the ages of 18 and 45 were subject to militia duty, (and that) the captain would send a written notice to everyone (on) his muster roll."
Gibson remarked, "it would have made you smile to have seen these equipments." The reason? "Some (of the men) were accused of trying to pass muster with only a cornstalk for a gun."
During a muster, a "fugleman" stood in the front, and by dumb motion showed the man what to do. When the captain gave the order to "charge bayonets" the men went through a pantomime laughable to behold."
Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail him at email@example.com.