Georgia hopes to use Civil War anniversary to boost tourism

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The Civil War brought hard times to the southern state of Georgia, with Union troops from the North torching Atlanta and cutting a swath of destruction through the state before delivering Savannah to President Abraham Lincoln as an early Christmas gift on Dec. 22, 1864.

Nearly a century and a half later, state leaders are hoping Georgia's role in the epic conflict will have a much different impact _ drawing in millions of tourism dollars by promoting its Civil War-era sites.

With the 150th anniversary of the war's start approaching in 2011, Gov. Sonny Perdue wants to spend $5 million in this year's state budget to refurbish significant sites and begin linking and promoting them as a comprehensive "heritage tourism" package.

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