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Muscogee County Historical Markers

Red Jacket


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Red Jacket
  • Location: Courthouse in Columbus

RED JACKET

Red Jacket, a small brass cannon, was first used in firing a salute of 500 guns when Georgia seceded from the Union. In custody of the Columbus Guards, it fired salutes at the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America at Montgomery, Alabama. Feb 18, 1861. Red Jacket was purchased by Mrs. Laura Beecher Comer in 1861 and presented to the Columbus Guards. During the war period it was used to fire salutes to Confederate victories in the Army and Navy. When a Federal army approached Columbus in 1865, some member of the Columbus Guards, fearing the little gun would be captured, threw in into the Chattahoochee river near the city wharf. Four years later, it was accidentally drawn up on the fluke of an anchor. The finders sold it as junk and it was carried to New York City and bought by J. W. Godfrey, an armorer. A newspaper reporter saw Red Jacket and wrote a description of it in a New York paper. The clipping was sent to L.H. Chappell, then Captain of the Columbus guards, in 1884. Correspondence ensued and Mr. Godfrey restored the gun to the Columbus Guards. In 1930 Red Jacket was stolen from its carriage on Upper Broad Street and conveyed to the river bank. When fired, it burst into many pieces. Alva C. Smith, secretary-treasurer of the Historical Society of Columbus, found all the pieces and had the gun mended and rebuilt.

116-22 GEORGIA HISTORICAL COMMISSION 1955