150 Years Ago Today…

On February 9, 1861, Augusta’s Chronicle and Sentinel newspaper reported the resignation of a Lt. William Boggs from the United States Army.  Like many during this time, this Augusta son resigned his commission from the United States Army and returned to Georgia to offer his services to this state.  Very little is known of his early childhood, but his education and interests in military affairs and science carried him to the United States Military Academy in West Point in 1849.  Four years later, he graduated in the top five of his class.

Boggs’ abilities were best suited to the engineering aspects of military service. He immediately was made part of Governor Joe Brown’s staff and tasked with obtaining supplies to help prepare the state for war. Soon he was transferred to Confederate service and assisted in the preparation of coastal defenses throughout the South. By war’s end he had achieved the rank of brigadier general and was the chief of staff for General Kirby Smith of the Trans-Mississippi Department.

Following the war, he became a civil engineer working in railroad construction in the western states. By 1875 he was appointed Professor of Mechanics in the Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg, remaining there until 1881.  During 1891 he wrote his recollections of his Civil War service as a gift for his children. The later years of his life were spent in Winston-Salem, N. C., where he died September 11, 1911, at the age of eighty-two.  In June 1913 the Military Reminiscences of Gen. Wm. R. Boggs, C.S.A. was first published. An electronic version is available for viewing at http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/boggs/boggs.html

William Robertson Boggs was born in Augusta on March 18, 1829.   He was married to Mary Symington of Baltimore in December 1864, and this union produced five children.  Florence Corley’s book Confederate City, Augusta, Georgia, 1860-1865, lists him as one of eleven Confederate generals to come from this city.

By Russell Liner. Russell is our library’s Civil War buff. If you have questions, he has answers! He will be contributing Civil War related posts from now on. Please post your questions or suggestions for articles and he will do his best to respond.

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