Located here was a town called New Ebenezer, settled by the Salzburgers, a persecuted Protestant sect which fled to Georgia from Austria in 1736. The town had 2,000 citizens when the British captured it in 1779. After the Revolutionary War, the Salzburgers moved away. Their old church remains, as does their cemetery. A museum nearby tells the story of the Salzburgers. During Sherman's "March to the Sea" on Dec. 8, 1864, Federal troops under Union Gen. Jefferson C. Davis filed across Ebenezer Creek and destroyed their pontoon bridge behind them, leaving behind over 600 slaves which had been following the army column. With Confederate cavalry under Wheeler approaching, many slaves panicked and drowned as they tried to flee by attempting to cross the creek. The creek today has some of the state's oldest trees, ancient cypress with huge swollen bases. Davis' men marched past the Salzburger Church on their way to Savannah.
Historic King-Tisdell Cottage has museum exhibits which interpret the history of blacks in Savannah and the surrounding islands, including documents which reveal the role blacks played during the Civil War. In Franklin Square next to City Market is the First African Baptist Church, 1859, which is reportedly the first brick building built by African Americans for their own use. Church membership was derived from the oldest black congregation in the U.S. (1788) at nearby Brampton Plantation.
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