Near Columbia in Maury County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
A Common Soldier's Lasting Legacy
Watkins left his home a few miles west of here when the war began, enlisted in the 3rd Tennessee Infantry, and then transferred to Co. H (the Maury Grays), 1st Tennessee Infantry. He fought in the battles of Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Franklin, and Nashville, among others. Of the 120 men who enlisted in Co. H in 1861, Watkins was one of only 7 remaining when Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman in April 1865.
Watkins first published Company Aytch as a serial in the Columbia Herald newspaper. Issued in book form in 1882, Company Aytch had a production run of only 2,000 copies. Watkins's father, Frederick Henry Watkins, provided the money with understanding that he would receive "first fruits" from the book's sales.
Filmmaker Ken Burns boosted the popularity of Company Aytch when he used selections from it in his groundbreaking 1990 documentary, The Civil War. In 2007, Watkins's great-grand-daughter published an expanded
"America has no North, no South, no East, no West. The sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains, the compass just points up and down, and we can laugh now at the absurd notion of there being a north and a south. We are one and undivided."—Pvt. Sam R. Watkins, Co. H, 1st Tennessee Infantry
Zion Presbyterian Church (built 1847-1849) serves Maury County's oldest active congregation. The adjoining cemetery contains more than 1,500 graves, including veterans of the Revolutionary, Mexican, and Civil War.
Zion Presbyterian Church, 1936 - Tennessee State Library and Archives
Sam Watkins Courtesy Maury County Archives
Virginia M. Watkins Courtesy Maury County Archives
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 35.909′ N, 87° 8.689′ W. Marker is near Columbia, Tennessee, in Maury County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Zion Road and Old Zion Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Zion (approx. 1.1 miles away); Forrest and Capron (approx. 1.7 miles away); St. John's (approx. 1.7 miles away); Delaying Forrest (approx. 1.7 miles away); St. John's Episcopal Church (approx. 1.7 miles away); Rattle and Snap Plantation (approx. 2.3 miles away); Frierson Cemetery (approx. 3.4 miles away); Road to Nashville (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 21, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 366 times since then and 38 times this year. Last updated on July 23, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on July 21, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.