Our Georgia History

Sidney Lanier
February 3, 1842 Sidney Clopton Lanier born, Macon, Georgia
  City of Macon, Georgia
  Sidney Lanier
January 6, 1857 Sidney Lanier enters Oglethorpe College in Midway, GA
  Sidney Lanier
July 15, 1860 [circa] Sidney Lanier graduates from Oglethorpe College
  Sidney Lanier
November 2, 1864 The Lucy (Confederate blockade runner) is captured in the Gulf Stream by the Federal cruiser Santiago-de-Cuba. Sidney Lanier, signal officer for the Lucy is on board. He is taken to Point Lookout prison [US].
  Sidney Lanier
September 7, 1881 Poet Sidney Clopton Lanier dies, from complications of tuberculosis, which he caught at Point Lookout, Maryland a Union prisoner-of-war camp.
  Sidney Lanier
August 7, 1920 Lanier County created
  Creation of Georgia Counties
  Lanier County, Georgia
  Sidney Lanier
October 9, 1957 Dedication of the completed Lake Lanier dam.
  Lake Lanier
  Sidney Lanier

Sidney Lanier

After graduating from college in 1860, Sidney Lanier returned to Macon and enlisted in the Confederate Army. Assigned to signal duty aboard blockade runners, Lanier was captured as the ship he was aboard, The Lucy, was sailing in the gulf stream some 14 hours out of port. He was assigned to Point Lookout prisoner of war camp in Maryland, where he caught the tuberculosis that would plague him for the rest of his life.

After his release from prison, Lanier returned to Macon, sick and alone. He met and married Mary Day. Lanier considered this to be "an idyllic marriage..." She not only loved him but suffered with him. From 1869 until 1873 he practiced law in the firm of Lanier and Anderson, mostly dealing with the transfer of titles. Lanier travelled to get away from Atlanta during the summer. Brunswick, Georgia, -- the scene of the Marsh poems, Alleghany Springs in Virginia, Lookout Mountain and San Antonio, Texas were all destinations because of his ill health. He also made three trips to New York City to consult with experts between 1869 and 1871. In 1869 Lanier wrote "Wouldn't it be a curious and refreshing phenomenon if Tweed, Hall,Bullock, and that ilk should all continue in the service of the State --
only changing the scene of their labors from the office to the penitentiary?," comparing Georgia's governor to the Tweed gang being mopped up in New York City at the time.

Leaving Macon for New York City, Sidney Lanier stopped in Baltimore where he revived his love and talent for playing the flute. He became absorbed in music and was considered a musical genius. Frequently playing his own compositions, Lanier practiced, studied and wrote songs over the next year and a half. It was during this time in Baltimore that he returned to writing poetry.

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