Sam Watkins

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This article is about the American writer and humorist. For the American fantasy writer (born 1988), see Sam Sykes.
Sam Watkins
Sam Watkins.jpg
Sam Watkins in 1861
Born Samuel Rush Watkins
(1839-06-26)June 26, 1839
Maury County, Tennessee
Died July 20, 1901(1901-07-20) (aged 62)
Maury County, Tennessee
Resting place Zion Presbyterian Church
Maury County, Tennessee
35°35′56″N 87°8′42″W / 35.59889°N 87.14500°W / 35.59889; -87.14500
Pen name Sam. R. Watkins
Occupation Clerk, soldier, farmer
Alma mater Jackson College
Period 1881-1900
Notable work "Co. Aytch"
Years active 1881-1882
Spouse Virginia Mayes (m. 1865)
Military career
Allegiance  Confederate States
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861-1865
Rank Private
Unit Company H, First Tennessee Regiment
Battles/wars

American Civil War

Sam Watkins (born Samuel Rush Watkins; June 26, 1839 – July 20, 1901) was an American writer and humorist. He fought through the entire Civil War and saw action in many major battles. Today, he is best known for his enduring memoir, "Co. Aytch," which recounts his life as a soldier in the Confederate States Army.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

In May 1861, twenty-one year old Sam Watkins of Maury County, Tennessee, rushed to join the army when his state left the Union. He became part of Company H (or Co. "Aytch," as he called it), First Tennessee Regiment, and would fight from Shiloh to Nashville and was one of only seven men who remained in the company when it was surrendered to Major-General W. T. Sherman in North Carolina, April 1865.[3] When he died at sixty-two, Watkins was buried with full military honors.[1]

"Co. Aytch"[edit]

In 1881, with a "house full of young 'rebels' clustering about my elbows," Watkins began to chronicle his experiences in the First Tennessee Regiment. "Co. Aytch" is considered to be one of the greatest memoirs ever written by a soldier of the field.[3] Originally published as a serial newspaper column from 1881 to 1882 in The Columbia (Tennessee) Herald, his stories were collected and printed in book form in 1882.[1][2][4] The charming prose captures the experience of the common private soldier, from the hardships of camp life to the horrors of battle, the camaraderie of a unit to the loss of a brother, the pride in one's state to the devastation of defeat.[3]

Legacy[edit]

Camp No. 29 (established 1986) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Columbia, Tennessee, is named after him.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Watkins, Sam (2015) [1st pub. Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House:1882]. Furman, Katherine, ed. Co. "Aytch": The First Tennessee Regiment or a Side Show to the Big Show (Complete Illustrated ed.). Minneapolis, Minn.: Zenith Press. Back cover. ISBN 978-0-7603-4775-1. OCLC 928999663. 
  2. ^ a b Leigh, Phil (March 15, 2013). "Private Watkins's War". The New York Times. Disunion. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Watkins, Sam (2015) [1st pub. Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House:1882]. Furman, Katherine, ed. Co. "Aytch": The First Tennessee Regiment or a Side Show to the Big Show (Complete Illustrated ed.). Minneapolis, Minn.: Zenith Press. Front cover. ISBN 978-0-7603-4775-1. OCLC 928999663. 
  4. ^ Watkins, Sam. R. (1882). 1861 vs. 1882. "Co. Aytch," Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment; or, A Side Show to the Big Show. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House. LCCN 02017896. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]