On Sunday, June 10th at 3 P.M., the Franklin Civil War Round Table will present author Ruth Hill McAllister, who will speak on her great-grandfather and his inimitable Co. Aytch, considered by many historians as one of the best first-person accounts of a common soldier’s war experiences. Ken Burns, known for his famous PBS historical series, said, “The only thing better than Sam Watkins…is more Sam Watkins.”
Born near Columbia, Tennessee, Sam enlisted in 1861 and fought the entire war from Shiloh to Nashville with Company H, the “Maury Greys,” of the 1st Tennessee Infantry. He was one of only seven men out of the company of 120, to survive to the surrender of the Army of Tennessee in 1865.
Ruth Hill McAllister, Watkins’s great granddaughter, found a copy of the original version of his famous account with Sam’s handwritten notes and corrections, and in 2007 produced a new edition incorporating some of these changes.
McAllister tells the story of Sam Watkins in a way that only dedicated descendant can. She includes little known details about life in Columbia, Middle Tennessee, and the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War. She was recently a featured speaker on the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission’s PBS documentary, “The Story of Shiloh: Fiery Trial.”