February 23, 1818
1818 Confederate general Jeremy Francis Gilmer was born in Guilford City, N.C. He graduated from West Point in 1839 and served as an officer in the engineer corps. In June 1861, Gilmer resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army as a lieutenant colonel. He served as chief engineer to Gen. Albert S. Johnson. Subsequently, Gilmer became chief engineer for the Department of Northern Virginia and head of the Confederate Bureau of Engineers. In Aug. 1863, he was promoted to major general. Gilmer was responsible for helping plan the defense of Charleston, Atlanta, and Savannah. After the war, he became a civil engineer. Gilmer died Dec. 1, 1883 in Savannah.
February 23, 1838
1838 Confederate general Gilbert Moxley Sorrel was born in Savannah, Ga. He became a bank clerk and served as a private in a Savannah militia unit. On Jan. 3, 1861, Sorrell took part in the seizure of Ft. Pulaski by local militia. Subsequently, he served as a captain on the staff of Gen. James Longstreet at the Battle of First Manassas. Sorrel served under Longstreet during all of his battles. In Oct. 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general and commanded his own brigade in Mahone’s division at Petersburg and Hatcher’s Run. After the war, he became a merchant and steamship executive. Sorrel died Aug. 10, 1901 in Roanoke, Va.
February 23, 1861
1861 In a special election,Texas voters ratified the Feb. 1 vote to secede by a statewide convention. Texas thus became the 7th southern state to secede from the Union.
February 23, 1868
1868 Sociologist, author, and pioneering civil rights activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1895. For almost 25 years, Du Bois taught and wrote as a faculty member at Atlanta University, later recalling that it was this period where he developed many of his thoughts and beliefs on black equality. He is probably best remembered for helping organize the Niagara Movement in 1905 and for co-founding the NAACP four years later. Later in life, Du Bois became bitter about the progress of civil rights in America. In 1961, he openly embraced communism and moved to Ghana, where he renounced his U.S. citizenship. Du Bois died in Accra, Ghana on Aug. 27, 1963 at age 95.
February 23, 1875
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved by the governor on Feb. 23:
1875 Baxley (Appling County)
February 23, 1976
1976 In recognition of the American Revolution Bicentennial, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 different stamps showing the state flags of Georgia and the other 49 states. Special ceremonies were held in Atlanta and the other state capitals for the flag stamps.