Pvt. Sam R. Watkins
Co. "Aytch"
1st Tennessee

In honor of Sam and all soldiers.

Shiloh, Corinth, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, The 100 Days Battles, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Franklin, Nashville - this is a roll that accounts for a simple statistic. Of the 120 men who enlisted in Co. "H" in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of the 7 alive when Joe Johnston surrendered to W.T. Sherman the last major Confederate army in the field in April, 1865. Of the 3,000 men who fought in the First Tennessee, only 65 were left to be paroled on that day.

Among the best personal narratives of the Civil War, Sam's memoir, Co. Aytch, shines with heart, humor and the honest voice of a natural-born storyteller. Born June 26, 1839 near Columbia, TN, Sam was 21 when he enlisted in the Spring of 1861. He came home to marry his "Jennie" and, at the time of writing Co. Aytch, reported "a house full of young rebels clustering around my knees..." Originally serialized in the Columbia, TN Herald, Co. Aytch was published in a first edition of 1,500 in book form in 1882.

Sam's words, from the conclusion of Co. Aytch:

"...one generation passes away and another generation follows. But when we pass away, the impartial historian will render a true verdict, and a history will then be written in justification and vindication of those who gave their all in fighting the battles of their homes, their country, and their God.

"'The United States has no North, no South, no East, no West.'"

"'We are one and undivided.'"

Video "One and Un-Divided".

Sam Watkins died July 20, 1901 at the age of 62.

Memorial marker
near Columbia, TN.

Sam's grave
near Columbia, TN.

Memorial Day

Excerpts, Co. Aytch, Sam R. Watkins, Copyright, 1962, Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 3rd Ave., N., NYNY, 10022
Background photo: "47th Virginia", Fredericksburg, MD, December, 1862, Library of Congress.

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