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Collection Title: Columbus Riflemen, Company "C", First Regiment

Collection Number: M62

Dates: April 21, 1900

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Unknown. Purchased from Confederate Publications, May 1970.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

The Columbus Riflemen were organized in 1837 at Columbus, Mississippi, by Charles H. Abert, who became their first captain. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Mississippi was requested to supply soldiers, and the men of the Columbus Riflemen complied. They were accepted into the First Mississippi Regiment of Infantry, and they rendezvoused with the regiment at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The First Mississippi Regiment is better known as the Mississippi Rifles, whose colonel, Jefferson Davis, later became the President of the Confederate States of America. When the Mississippi Rifles arrived in Mexico, they became part of the Third Brigade, Second Division, under General John A. Quitman. They fought in the Battle of Monterey and the Battle of Buena Vista.

On January 11, 1861, a few days after Mississippi seceded from the Union, the Columbus Rifles went to Pensacola, Florida, to assist the Governor of that state in capturing naval supplies and Federal forts in the area. The unit was mustered into Confederate service at Columbus on April 15, 1861, and formed Company K of the 14th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. On December 8, 1861, the Rifles went to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for instruction under the overall command of General Albert Sidney Johnston. They fought at Shiloh where they lost approximately forty men, and at Fort Donelson, where they were captured and then imprisoned at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois.

In Columbus, Mississippi, on April 25, 1866, three women began an activity called "Decoration Day." This day was set aside to honor the deceased soldiers of the Civil War; ladies young and old marched to Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, participated in a short service, and then placed flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers. In 1869 the ladies of Columbus organized an association to handle the upkeep of the cemetery and to erect a monument to the soldiers of the Confederacy. Their plans for a monument were completed, and in 1896, the association bequeathed to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy their responsibilities as caretakers of Confederate soldiers' graves. In a Decoration Day description of the early 1900's, the members of the UDC rode in carriages in the processional to Friendship Cemetery.

Scope and Content:

This collection contains a letter from members of the Columbus Riflemen dated April 21, 1900. The letter is addressed to Miss Anna Banks and acknowledges that the United Daughters of the Confederacy have set aside April 27th as a special day to honor Confederate dead. Officers of the Columbus Riflemen are named on the letterhead and in the signature of the letter; they were G.Y. Banks, Captain; W.L. Gardner, First Lieutenant; and E.A. Passino, Second Lieutenant.

The celebration will include both the sponsor and her maids of honor. Miss Banks is notified by this letter that a carriage will be sent for her and a place reserved in the procession on the day known as "Decoration Day."

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