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Gen. Benning’s wartime papers go online

Civil War history buffs will soon be able to research the wartime letters and documents of Brig. Gen. Henry Benning that are stored in the Columbus State University Archives, thanks to a ground-breaking grant from the Digital Library of Georgia.

It is an important step for the CSU Archives, which is located on the third floor of the Schwob Memorial Library the university’s main campus.

“We are excited to receive this grant allowing us to increase access to our collections by making General Benning’s involvement in this important period of our history available online,” University Archivist David Owings said in a news release. “The collection will be keyword searchable facilitating in-depth research for scholars or anyone with an interest in the Civil War era.”

Fort Benning is named for the Confederate general who was a prominent figure in the Civil War. He participated in 21 engagements including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. His regiment was at first part of the Army of northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee and later under Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee.

This is a sample of the documents that are found in the Benning Collection at the Columbus State University Archives.

During the Battle of Antietam, Benning earned the nickname “Old Rock” due to his regiment’s unfaltering defense of the Confederate right flank. By 1863, he had been promoted to Brigadier General. He continued to serve in that capacity until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

Gen. Henry L. Benning

After the war, Benning returned to Columbus where he became a Superior Court judge and resumed the practice of law. He died, in 1875 and his name was attached to Camp Benning in 1918.

The project will digitize approximately 120 documents, mostly letters from Benning that were donated to the CSU Archives by the Columbus Museum.

The Digital Library will provide the library with standardized meta-data, meaning the collection will be fully described for people all over the world to view online.

Once complete, the online project will be hosted on the websites of the CSU Digital Archives and the Digital Library of Georgia.

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