A Walking Tour of Abbeville, South Carolina
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
French Huguenots settled the region in the early 1700s and brought the name Abbeville with them from a small town in the home country about 20 miles from the Atlantic coastline. The county was formed in 1758 and stretches from the Savannah River to the Saluda River across the upstate; its namesake town has been county seat since it was formed in the late 18th century.
Abbeville is often referred to as the “birthplace and the deathbed of the Confederacy.” The first meeting to discuss a possible secession from the United States of America was held here on November 22, 1860. Scheduled for Court Square, the meeting was moved to a nearby hillside, known since as Secession Hill, as the crowd grew to thousands. Five years later, on the night of May 2, 1865 Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in Abbeville at about 10 a.m., six days after General Robert E. Lee had urged the evaluation of the disbanding capital of Richmond and General Joseph E. Johnston had surrendered to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman at Greensboro, N.C. While in town he would meet with Confederate Secretary of War Generals John C. Breckinridge, Braxton Bragg and five brigade generals at the Burt home. Captured eight days later, it would be the last ever war council held by the leaders of the Southern Rebellion.