The public will be able to read online the Civil War era letters and other documents of Confederate Brig. Gen. Henry Benning, for whom Fort Benning was named.
That’s because Columbus State University has earned one of the inaugural Digital Library of Georgia digitization grants, CSU announced Thursday.
“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 the news release. “The collection will be keyword searchable, facilitating in-depth research for scholars or anyone with an interest in the Civil War era.”
The news release said the project will digitize approximately 120 documents, mostly letters from Benning that the Columbus Museum donated to CSU. The DLG will provide the library with standardized metadata, meaning the collection will be fully described for people all over the world to view online. The project will be hosted on the CSU Digital Archives website and the Digital Library of Georgia website.
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The grant’s value and the project’s launch date weren’t announced, and those answers weren’t available before deadline.
According to the news release, Benning participated in 21 Civil War engagements, including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. His regiment was at first part of the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee and later under Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee. During the Battle of Antietam, Benning earned the nickname “Old Rock” due to his regiment’s unfaltering defense of the Confederate right flank. After the war, Benning returned to Columbus and resumed practicing law until his death in 1875.
According to the Georgia Encyclopedia, Benning was elected as an associate justice of the Georgia Supreme Court in 1853 and served for six years. He then was chosen as chairman of the Georgia delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1860.
Benning is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus. Honoring the request from the Columbus Rotary Club, the U.S. Army named its Columbus camp, established in 1918 for an infantry school, and later its fort after Benning.
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