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In Their Own Words

August 14, 1864

Diary Recorded Death of Third Son

John Banks of Columbus, Georgia, had a total of seven sons to fight for the Confederacy. Today, he had the painful duty of recording in his diary the death of a third son to fall during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

“And again I must record the death of another dear son. On the 11th, we were telegraphed that Watkins Banks was killed in Atlanta. Yesterday Gilmer came with his remains and told us that Watkins was passing near the enemy’s lines, arranging to send out some pickets, when a sharpshooter killed him, hitting him in the head. He died instantly and was not known to speak afterwards. He was buried yesterday and today the Rev. Mr. Harrison preaches the funeral of Willis, Eugene and Watkins. Wish we had Eugene here to buy him with Troup, Willis and Watkins. Eugene was buried at Resaca without a coffin [though his body was recovered after the war and reburied in Columbus]. But four sons now in the arm, viz: George, Sims, Gilmer and Elbert.”

Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 34.