Sam Watkins

Sam Watkins (HM1M2J)

Location: Columbia, TN 38401 Maury County
Country: United States of America
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N 35° 35.909', W 87° 8.689'

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Inscription

A Common Soldier's Lasting Legacy

Samuel Rush Watkins and his wife, Virginia (Jenny) Mayes Watkins, who worshipped here at Zion Presbyterian Church, are buried in the cemetery. In his book Company Aytch: or, a Side Show of the Big Show, Watkins left an incomparable memoir of his experiences as a rank-and-file soldier during the Civil War.

Watkins left his home a few miles west of here when the war began, enlisted in the 3rd Tennessee Infantry, and then transferred to Co. H (the Maury Grays), 1st Tennessee Infantry. He fought in the battles of Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Franklin, and Nashville, among others. Of the 120 men who enlisted in Co. H in 1861, Watkins was one of only 7 remaining when Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman in April 1865.

Watkins first published Company Aytch as a serial in the Columbia Herald newspaper. Issued in book form in 1882, Company Aytch had a production run of only 2,000 copies. Watkins father, Frederick Henry Watkins, provided the money with understanding that he would receive "first fruits" from the book's sales.

Filmmaker Ken Burns boosted the popularity of Company Aytch when he used selections from it in his groundbreaking 1990 documentary, The Civil War. In 2007, Watkins's great-grand-daughter published an expanded edition with hand-written notes from his original copy.

"America has no North, no South, no East, no West. The sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains, the compass just points up and down, and we can laugh now at the absurd notion of there being a north and a south. We are one and undivided."—Pvt. Sam R. Watkins, Co. H, 1stTennessee Infantry

(sidebar)
Zion Presbyterian Church (built 1847-1849) serves Maury County's oldest active congregation. The adjoining cemetery contains more than 1,500 graves, including veterans of the Revolutionary, Mexican, and Civil War.
Details
HM NumberHM1M2J
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 10:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 486882 N 3939425
Decimal Degrees35.59848333, -87.14481667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 35.909', W 87° 8.689'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 35' 54.54" N, 87° 8' 41.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)931, 615
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6901 Old Zion Rd, Columbia TN 38401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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