WHEREAS:      April is the month in which the Confederate States of America began and ended a four-year struggle for states’ rights, individual freedom and local governmental control, which they believed to be right and just; and

WHEREAS:      Confederate Memorial Day  on April 26 is a time when Georgians honor the more than 90,000 brave men and women who served the Confederate States of America; and

WHEREAS:      Georgia joined the Confederacy after the convention ratified the ordinance of secession in January 1861, and Georgia has long cherished her Confederate history and the great leaders who made sacrifices on her behalf; and

WHEREAS:      The year of 2012 marks the second year of the Sesquicentennial and Georgia’s first taste of the War Between the States in 1862; and

WHEREAS:      Among those who served the Confederacy were many Georgians who work in non-combatant roles that were essential to Georgia and the Confederate War effort; and

WHEREAS:      One such individual who made a significant contribution to the state’s history was William Allen Fuller; and

WHEREAS:      William Allen Fuller was born on April 15, 1836 in Henry County and begin to work for the Western & Atlantic Railroad on September 8, 1855 at the age of 19. At the beginning of the War Between the States, William A. Fuller served as a conductor on W & ARR running trains out of Atlanta; and

WHEREAS:      On April 12, 1862 while having breakfast at the Lacey Hotel in Big Shanty, Federal spies stole the General and headed northbound to destroy the railroad bridges along the way. He first pursued the General by foot and then by handcar. He would later commandeer the Texas and continue with the 80 mile pursuit of the General in reverse. Due to Fuller’s relentless pursuit, the spies gave up the General at Ringgold “thereby preventing the destruction of the bridges of the railroad and the consequent dismemberment of the Confederacy.”; and

WHEREAS:      The Georgia General Assembly on November 6, 1862 noted that, "The conduct of Mr. Fuller, the Conductor, and of some others in the hazardous pursuit, while the spies were in possession of the train, deserves the highest commendation and entitles them to the consideration of the General Assembly." At the request of Governor Joseph Emerson Brown, a gold medal was suppose to be presented to Fuller for his services to the W&ARR and the State of Georgia, in successfully pursuing the Federal Spies on April 12, 1862 but was not given due to the War; and

WHEREAS:      Fuller was commissioned by Governor Brown on August 3, 1863, as a captain in the Independent State Road Guards. He hired and trained militia to serve as guards on Georgia’s railroads to prevent a recurrence of another raid;

WHEREAS:    On February 17, 1950, the General Assembly voted to posthumously present the gold medal to William Alford Fuller, the son of Captain William Allen Fuller for his work in the Great Locomotive Chase; and

WHEREAS:    the gallant effort of Fuller can still be seen in movies, museums, and books. The General and the Texas are on display at the Southern Museum in Kennesaw and the Cyclorama in Atlanta respectfully for future generations to enjoy; and

WHEREAS:       It is important that Georgians reflect upon our state’s past and honor and respect the devotion of her Confederate leaders, soldiers, sailors, marines and citizens; and

THEREFORE:      I, NATHAN DEAL, Governor of the State of Georgia, do hereby proclaim April 2012 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH and April 26, 2012, as CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY in Georgia and encourage our citizens to observe this occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the Executive Department to be affixed this 6th day of December in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven