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Frank Watkins, Sgt.

Submitted by Roger Brothers

Frank volunteered in Dec. of 1863. He was elected 1st Sergeant of Co. A. He was one of the oldest enlisted men in the Company. The enlisted men of the whole regiment where 17 and younger. Some as young as 14) He was present at the Battle of Chehaw Station 18 July 1864 along with about 400 of his Battalion, 54 University of Alabama Cadets and about 100 Conscripts. All where armed with obsolete muskets. This force of boys (none of which other than some of the officers, had ever heard a shot fired in anger) met and eventually drove from the field a numerically similar force of veteran Yankee cavalry who where armed with repeating rifles. (I dare say not bad for a bunch of Alabama farm boys! Every Alabamian should be aware of and take great pride in the record of this "boy regiment".)

Frank and the rest of the Regiment where soon after sent to the Mobile defenses. They where present at the battle of Spanish Fort then withdrawn to the defenses at Blakely. During the assault at 4PM, 9 April 1865 (the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox by the way) Frank was wounded. He was shot through the lung with a minie ball. He and most of the regiment were captured. Frank along with the other severely wounded prisoners were sent to the Hospital in New Orleans. In July Frank was discharged, given transportation to Big Black (near Vicksburg) and released.

The above (except for my comments of course) is from official records.

The following is from local oral history.

Frank started the long trek (approx. 200 miles) on foot. When nearly home he came to a small cold water stream in the hills of Bibb County called Schultz Creek. Frank, hot and dirty from his long ordeal decided to bathe in the stream. While bathing he evidently got water into his wounded lung and became very ill. A family who lived nearby took him in and did what they could for him. Frank died of pneumonia a few days later. Many years latter a UDC group called the "Yellowhammers" erected a monument at Frank's grave. The epitaph reads "Sleep Soldier Sleep, thou hast done thy Part"'

This stone stands alone today facing that little stream and just off the east right of way of State Hwy. Five about five miles north of Centreville Alabama.

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