Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Edgar Cayce - The Sleeping Prophet in Selma, Alabama

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was one of the most unique individuals of the early 20th century.

Born in Kentucky, he was a psychic that many called the "Sleeping Prophet" because he did his readings while in a state of self-hypnosis. Beginning in around 1901-1902, Cayce developed a widespread reputation because of what believers said was his ability to diagnosis medical conditions and recommend cures that often worked. He did this without examining or, in many cases, even meeting the patients.

In 1912, Cayce moved from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to Selma, Alabama. In Selma he operated a photography studio for twelve years, was active in community affairs and was often mentioned in newspapers across the country. By 1920, one of the Birmingham newspapers was able to report that he had done readings for thousands of people, mystifying doctors and scientists in the process.

Edgar Cayce lived in Selma until 1923. The storefront where he kept his photography studio and also lived still stands today. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/selmacayce.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Battle of Griswoldville, Georgia - Opposing Sherman's March to the Sea

The only major infantry fight of Sherman's March to the Sea was the Battle of Griswoldville, fought just outside of Macon, Georgia, on November 22, 1864.

A column of Georgia militia, state line and emergency battalion troops, augmented by a regular artillery battery, reached Griswoldville on their way from Macon to Augusta and found a farm just beyond the railroad community swarming with Union soldiers from Sherman's right column. The commanders who had sent them out thought that Sherman's army had already passed and that the route was clear. The men had marched under orders not to precipitate a major engagement if they encountered enemy forces.

Instead, Brigadier General Pleasant J. Philips moved his men into a line of battle and ordered them to advance on the Federals, who rushed to throw up temporary breastworks along a ridge. The position offered them an outstanding field of fire, which they used to great advantage.

As  the battle went on, the Confederates lost all semblance of command and control, but unlike so many other militia forces did not break and run when faced with an entrenched force of regular enemy soldiers. Instead, in one of the most courageous displays of the war, they charged up the ridge over and over. It was the bloodiest fighting of the March to the Sea and ended with a ravine down the ridge filled dead and dying Georgians.

To learn more about the battle and today's Griswoldville Battlefield State Historic Site, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/griswoldvillebattlefield.