Co. Aytch," Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment

Watkins, Sam

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015
ISBN 10: 1507882734 / ISBN 13: 9781507882733
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Synopsis: This is a history of the Civil War years written by a Confederate soldier decades later. From the preface: ""Co. AYTCH."—This week's Herald contains the last number of "Co. AYTCH" that will be published in the paper. The generals, and President, and Vice-President, and other high officials have published their accounts of the war, but Sam Watkins is the first high private who has written up the common soldier side of the matter. In big, gilt-edge books, the general, the President, and the Vice-President, tell about their plans, their battle, their retreats, their measures, and their ideas, and not a word about what the poor, sore footed, hungry, and naked soldier felt. In "Co. AYTCH" we see the old "webfoot," dressed in a dirty, greasy, gray suit—or rather non-suit—a cotton blanket thrown across his shoulder, and fastened under his cartridge-box belt; a greasy, dirty haversack hanging down—very thin and flabby; with shoes of untanned leather. There he goes, footsore, tired, and hungry, but chipper and sassy, and ready for the battle. In "Co. AYTCH" we see this same "webfoot" in camp, cooking his rations—corn meal bread, corn meal coffee, corn meal soup, blue beef, with not an eye of grease on it. He lies down on the cold ground, in an old thin blanket, and shivers through the night. In "Co. AYTCH" we hear this "webfoot" talking to his comrades, cheering their drooping spirits, discussing the situation, defending the general, hoping for final victory, and a glorious return home to father, mother, and sweetheart. In "Co. AYTCH" we see this same "webfoot," hungry, ragged, dirty, and footsore, "on the battle's perilous edge," the light of victory in his eye, a gun with a gleaming bayonet in his hands, springing forward like a deer, a ringing shout upon his lips, rushing up to the breastworks, behind which belch Napoleon guns and volleys of musketry; see him cross the abattis at a bound; see him as he stands upon the enemy's ramparts, shouting victory ! In "Co. AYTCH" we see this same "webfoot" shot down by a minnie ball, and lying cold and stark in death, and thrown into a common shallow grave, unhonored, unknown, and unsung, far away from fond loved ones. In "Co. AYTCH" we see other soldiers, driven by hunger, stealing hogs, others deserting and going home. All this we see in "Co. AYTCH." Every old soldier, and every son of an old soldier, should have a copy of it.—Columbia Herald."

About the Author: Samuel "Sam" Rush Watkins (June 26, 1839 - July 20, 1901) was a noted Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He is known today for his memoir Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show, often heralded as one of the best primary sources about the common soldier's Civil War experience. Watkins was born on June 26, 1839 near Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee, and received his formal education at Jackson College in Columbia. He originally enlisted in the "Bigby Greys" of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, but transferred shortly thereafter to the First Tennessee Infantry, Company H (the "Maury Greys") in the spring of 1861. Watkins faithfully served throughout the duration of the War, participating in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Shelbyville, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Adairsville, Kennesaw Mountain (Cheatham Hill), New Hope Church, Zion Church, Kingston, Cassville, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Franklin, and Nashville. Of the 120 men who enlisted in "Company H" in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of only seven alive when General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to General William Tecumseh Sherman in North Carolina April, 1865. Of the 1,200 men who fought in the First Tennessee, only 65 were left to be paroled on that day. Soon after the war ended, Watkins began writing his memoir, entitled "Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show". It was originally serialized in the Columbia, Tennessee Herald newspaper. "Co. Aytch" was published in a first edition of 2,000 in book form in 1882. "Co. Aytch" is heralded by many historians as one of the best war memoirs written by a common soldier of the field. Sam's writing style is quite engaging and skillfully captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier. Watkins is often featured and quoted in Ken Burns' 1990 documentary titled The Civil War. Watkins died on July 20, 1901 at the age of sixty-two in his home in the Ashwood Community. He was buried with full military honors by the members of the Leonidas Polk Bivouac, United Confederate Veterans, in the cemetery of the Zion Presbyterian Church near Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.

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Title: Co. Aytch," Maury Grays, First Tennessee ...
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2015
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2015)
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