Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon, located just before Eatonton on the way to Athens along U.S. Highway 441, and it is located on the Oconee River. The rapid current of the Oconee River here made this an attractive location to build a city. It was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868, notably during the American Civil War. Milledgeville was preceded as the capital city by Louisville, and it was succeeded by Atlanta, the current capital.
The population of the town of Milledgeville was 18,757 at the 2000 census.
Two events epitomized Milledgeville's status as the political and social center of Georgia in these years. The first was the visit to the capital in 1825 by the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) soldier the Marquis de Lafayette. The receptions, barbecue, formal dinner, and grand ball for the veteran apostle of liberty seemed to mark Milledgeville's coming of age. The second event was the construction (1836-38/39) of the Governor's Mansion, one of the most important examples of Greek revival architecture in America.
On January 19, 1861, Georgia convention delegates passed the Ordinance of Secession, and the "Republic of Georgia" joined the Confederate States of America, to the accompaniment of wild celebration, bonfires, and illuminations on Milledgeville's Statehouse Square. Three years later, on a bitterly cold November day, Union general William T. Sherman and 30,000 Union troops marched into Milledgeville. When they left a couple of days later, they had ransacked the statehouse; vandalized the State Chapel by pouring honey down the pipes of the organ and by housing cavalry horses in the church; then destroyed the state arsenal and powder magazine; burned the penitentiary, the central depot, and the Oconee bridge; and devastated the surrounding countryside. In 1868, during Reconstruction, the legislature moved the capital to Atlanta—a city emerging as the symbol of the New South as surely as Milledgeville symbolized the Old South.