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In Their Own Words

April 13, 1861

Diary Entry on Sumter Celebration

As 63-year-old planter and businessman John Banks recorded in his diary, the residents of Columbus, Georgia were rejoicing at the capture of Fort Sumter. Banks agreed with secession, but the war would cost him a terrible price. Seven of his sons would fight for the Confederacy - and three would die in battle. But for now, it was time for celebration:

“1 o’clock, the telegraph has just brought the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter. We have known for the last thirty hours that they were fighting at Charleston and it has been thirty hours of great suspense and anxiety. The telegraph bringing us constantly the progress. Now while I write the people are rejoicing, the bells ringing, cannons firing, drums beating. The next war news we anticipate to come from Pensacola. We are hourly expecting it.”

Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 23.