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MURRAY COUNTY CHARACTERS
Thomas Polk Edmondson

Thomas Polk Edmondson was born in August, 1844 to James and Virginia Rebecca Edmondson. They resided in the house that was originally built by the Cherokee Chief James Vann. Thomas's family was very wealthy and in addition to the large plantation at Spring Place, they owned one large farm in May Hill an area south of the original home and another plantation four miles west of Spring Place near the Conasauaga River. The family had between thirty-five to forty slaves and their plantations were extensive in size surpassing several thousand acres each.

As the Civil War began and Union soldiers from Chattanooga were nearing the Spring Place area, Thomas's father moved the family to Terrell County. Thomas's interest in joining the fight was piqued and he was one of the original members of the Murray Rifles, also known as the Murray Scouts, formed by local citizens in Murray County. When he joined the Scouts in July, 1861, he had not yet celebrated his seventeenth birthday. The Murray Rifles became part of Company C of the 11th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry Army and was commanded by Robert E. Lee. However, Thomas only served nine days with this group. He found someone to trade jobs with him and was sent to serve with Colonel Anderson in the Regimental Headquarters where he stayed until early 1862.

Thomas's desire to be in the thick of the action grew stronger and he participated in a common practice of the time which was paying a fee to someone to take his place. After leaving the Murray Rifles, he became part of Company C Georgia 10th State Troops where he served under General Braxton Bragg. During this stint, he participated in battles at Perryville, Kentucky and the Battle of Stone River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in the summer of 1863 and to Major in 1864.

Thomas was also a part of General Sherman's march through Georgia. During this time, his company was based in Spring Place and they were known as the North Georgia Scouts. Thomas was known for his guerilla type tactics and for killing men and women who were considered to be Union sympathizers. These actions caught the attention of the Federal Cavalry, who came to this area in search of Edmondson and his men. The Calvary was led by Major Fox who searched in vain during both the fall of 1864 and the winter of 1865 for the elusive Thomas Edmondson and his scouts.

Finally Edmondson was tracked down in April, 1865 by Lieutenant Colonel Werner W. Bjerg and soldiers from the 147th Illinois Infantry and Sixth Tennessee Calvary. Bjerg's attacks began on Saturday, April 1st as he left nearby Dalton in route to Spring Place. On Saturday night, Bjerg captured six rebel sympathizers. There were several skirmishes on Sunday in the northeastern part of the county beginning near Holly Creek and continuing to McLoath Ford on the Coosawattee River. These altercations between Edmondson's Scouts and Bjerg's men continued throughout the day and resorted many times in hand to hand combat. During one of these skirmishes, Thomas received a wound to his face and back that would prove to be fatal, and his body was returned to his troops at the end of the conflict. Bjerg's troops had three wounded and no deaths. Edmondson died just shy of his twenty-first birthday.



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