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In Their Own Words

April 15, 1861

Call for Volunteers Recorded in Diary

In Columbus, 63-year-old planter and businessman John Banks recorded in his diary a call for volunteers to prepare for the defense of Georgia. Two of his sons - Watkins and Eugene - prepared to leave with their unit the next day. Before the war was over, five other of Banks’ sons would also serve in the Confederate Army. Sadly, three - including Watkins and Eugene - would be killed in battle during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign in 1864. But, for now there was no way their father could know what the future held:

“Monday. Saturday was a day of great rejoicing. Anderson, the commander of Fort Sumter, is now a prisoner of General Beauregard. The excitement seems to keep up. Orders have reached here for more troops to go to Savannah. Tomorrow, General Simms’ company leaves. Watkins and Eugene are preparing to go. Reports have reached us that a reinforcement of the old government troops had gotten into Fort Pickens at Pensacola.”

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