In June 1940, Congress authorized funding for the purchase of property in coastal Georgia for the purpose of building an anti-aircraft artillery training center. It was to be located just outside of Hinesville, GA, 40 miles southwest of Savannah. The coming of the anti-aircraft training center to the area adjacent to the sleepy little community of Hinesville would forever alter its lifestyle. Hinesville, the county seat of Liberty County, was populated by barely 500 people then. It wasn’t a particularly prosperous area; however, that had not always been the case.
Liberty County was rich in history, having provided two of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. The area had always stood proudly for the cause of "Liberty", hence its name. Before the Civil War it had been a very rich and prosperous area. That war had not affected the area much, until the U.S. Army arrived with General William Tecumsah Sherman. In a matter of a few months, Liberty County had been devastated. Its economy never recovered from that terrible blow. However, 75 years later the U.S. Army returned, almost as if to make amends for that which they had been responsible for during the Civil War. The new post would mean new jobs, new industry, and a major boost to the local economy, which was still suffering from the Great Depression. Hinesville would never be the same and its fortunes would become entwined with those of the new post.
On 1 July 1940, the first 5,000 acres were bought and subsequent purchases followed. Eventually the reservation included more than 280,000 acres and stretched over five counties. The large expanse of property was required for the firing ranges and impact areas which
an anti-aircraft artillery training center would need for live fire training.
In November 1940, the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center was officially designated as Camp Stewart, in honor of General Daniel Stewart,
a native of Liberty County who fought with Francis Marion during the Revolution and became one of the county’s military heroes. An announcement of the new post’s name was made in January 1941.
Source: 3rd Infantry Division Website
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