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In Their Own Words

November 22, 1861

Early Civil War Progress Recorded

In his journal, John Banks of Columbus, Georgia, recorded the early progress of the Civil War with guarded optimism:

“The war is still progressing with increased vigor. Since I last made a note many battles have been fought and most of them terminating in favor of the Confederacy. The Yankees have taken Port Royal, South Carolina, and Beaufort. Have a formidable armada on our coast and preparing for descending the Mississippi river from Cairo. A fatal battle just occurred at Columbus, Ky. Our side victorious. Great excitement there and at Memphis a renewal anticipated. If the Federals should prove successful, it is thought Memphis will be their next point of attack.

“Watkins and Eugene [two of his seven sons that would fight for the Confederacy] still near Manassas and some talk of their being ordered, with Toombs brigade, to the Southern coast, which I desire. At this time the prospects are gloomy and no green spot ahead.

“General Toombs and Ben Hill just elected senators to the Confederate Congress, which shows a healthy state in our Legislature. Ganey is elected senator from Alabama, though not returned from England, where he is our Minister.

“Just heard the fighting is now going on at Pensacola.”

Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), pp. 24-25.