“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbus in Muscogee County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)

"Torch Hill"

"Torch Hill" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By David Seibert, August 15, 2011
1. "Torch Hill" Marker
Inscription.  On the summit of the rise to the east is the site of "Torch Hill", home of Dr. Francis Orray Ticknor (1822-1874), author of the famed war story, "Little Giffen of Tennessee". Dr. Ticknor was a physician at the Confederate Hospital on Upper Broad St. in 1861-1865.

Giffen, a 16 year old Confederate soldier, was treated at the hospital for serious wounds. Dr. Ticknor took the boy to his home where Mrs. Ticknor nursed him. Before his wounds entirely healed, "Little Giffen" voluntarily took up his rifle and returned to battle. He was never heard of again.

The Creek Indians used "Torch Hill" for signal fires, giving the hill it’s name.
Erected 1989 by Georgia Department of Natural Resources. (Marker Number 106-2.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Historical Society series list.
Location. 32° 24.823′ N, 84° 56.539′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Georgia, in Muscogee
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County. Marker is at the intersection of Victory Drive (U.S. 27) and Fort Benning Road, on the right when traveling north on Victory Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Columbus GA 31903, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Victory Drive (approx. 0.4 miles away); Baker High School (approx. ¾ mile away); POW ✯ MIA Monument (approx. 1.8 miles away); The Infantryman (approx. 1.8 miles away); Specialist Ross A. McGinnis (approx. 1.8 miles away); World Trade Center Beam Memorial (approx. 1.9 miles away); Dedicated to the American Revolutionary War Infantryman (approx. 1.9 miles away); The "Chattahoochee Choo Choo" (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
More about this marker. This marker replaced an earlier marker with the same title and similar text, erected by the Georgia Historical Commission at this location, which had disappeared.
Regarding "Torch Hill". "Little Giffen of Tennessee"

By Francis Orrery Ticknor

Out of the focal and foremost fire,
Out of the hospital walls as dire;
Smitten of grape-shot and gangrene,
(Eighteenth battle, and he sixteen!)
Spectre! such as you seldom see,
Little Giffen, of Tennessee!

“Take him and welcome!” the
"Torch Hill" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By David Seibert, August 15, 2011
2. "Torch Hill" Marker
surgeons said;
Little the doctor can help the dead!
So we took him; and brought him where
The balm was sweet in the summer air;
And we laid him down on a wholesome bed,—
Utter Lazarus, heel to head!

And we watched the war with abated breath,—
Skeleton Boy against skeleton Death.
Months of torture, how many such?
Weary weeks of the stick and crutch;
And still a glint of the steel-blue eye
Told of a spirit that wouldn’t die,

And didn’t. Nay, more! in death’s despite
The crippled skeleton “learned to write.”
“Dear mother,” at first, of course; and then
“Dear captain,” inquiring about the men.
Captain’s answer: “Of eighty-and-five,
Giffen and I are left alive.”

Word of gloom from the war, one day;
Johnston pressed at the front, they say.
Little Giffen was up and away;
A tear—his first—as he bade good-by,
Dimmed the glint of his steel-blue eye.
“I ’ll write, if spared!” There was news of the fight;
But none of Giffen.—He did not write.

I sometimes fancy that, were I king
Of the princely Knights of the Golden Ring,
With the song of the minstrel in mine ear,
And the tender legend that trembles here,
I'd give the
"Torch Hill" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By David Seibert, August 15, 2011
3. "Torch Hill" Marker
Looking northwest on Victory Drive (US Highway 27) at the intersection with Fort Benning Road. The city of Columbus is in the distance.
best on his bended knee,
The whitest soul of my chivalry,
For “Little Giffen,” of Tennessee.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2011, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 917 times since then and 88 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2011, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 23, 2024