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Sep. 14, 1823 Hillsboro Jasper County Georgia, USA
Aug. 16, 1882 Atlanta Fulton County Georgia, USA
CSA Senator, US Congressman, US Senator. After graduating from the University of Georgia and entering the Georgia Bar in 1844, he rose to be a powerful political figure and to gain a reputation as one of the era's greatest orators. In 1850 his support of the Whig Alliance was the key factor in Georgia passing its approval for the Compromise of 1850. When the South and North were moving inexorably towards disunion in the late 1850s and early 1860s, he strongly opposed succession while in his role as a Georgia State Legislature, but when the Georgia Secession Ordinance was passed, he cast his lot with his home state. During the Civil War was elected as a Senator from Georgia to the Confederate Senate, which he served in from 1861 until the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865. During his tenure in the Confederate Senate he was a staunch supporter of President Jefferson Davis, which gained him his life long friendship. Arrested by Federal authorities in May 1865, after a two month confinement in New York City, New York's Fort Lafayette, he was paroled like most of the Confederate leadership. He returned to his pre-war law practice, and became a strong voice in denouncing the radical Republican Reconstruction polices that followed the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1877 he was elected as a Democrat fill the vacancy in the United States House of Representatives caused by the death of Congressman-elect Garnett McMillan. He represented Georgia's 9th Congressional District from May 5, 1875 until his resignation March 3, 1877, which was due to his being elected as a Senator from Georgia to the United States Senate (his Congressional seat was filled by Congressman Hiram Parks Bell). He assumed that office on March 4, 1877 and served until his death in Atlanta, Georgia in 1882. A stature of him was erected in Atlanta in 1866, and its dedication featured a speech by Jefferson Davis in one of his last public appearance. Ben Hill County is Georgia is named for him. (bio by: Russ Dodge)