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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 14, 1864

Columbus Man Lost Three Sons in Atlanta Campaign

A Columbus man recorded in his diary of the death of his son fighting in Atlanta; he was the third son he had lost in the campaign alone.

“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.