|Creator:||Atkins, Thomas Washington, 1835-1863|
|Title:||Atkins family papers|
|Quantity:||0.5 Linear feet (2 boxes)|
Thomas Washington Atkins (1835-1863) was born at Oak Lawn plantation in Henry County, Georgia. He was the son of Joseph (1804-1866) and Margaret Adams Atkins (1805-1880). His family was quite successful in Henry County; by 1860, he had 440 acres of improved land, 640 acres unimproved, and 28 slaves. Joseph and Margaret had twelve children, most of whom survived to adulthood.
Thomas Atkins received his degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1861. He entered the Confederate Army in the April 1862 with the Doyal Volunteers, Co. A, 53rd Georgia Regiment. Atkins had two companions in the war - his body-servant Sam, who he does not explicitly reference, and his brother-in-law Thomas Colquitt Andrews, a member of the same company. He died in 1863 of wounds received at the Battle of Gettysburg. His brother-in-law was also fatally wounded at Gettysburg, though he lingered in a Union military hospital before dying in September 1863.
James Lewis Adams (1843-1887) was the son of Thomas Atkins Adams (1818-1883) and Ann Moseley (1820-1847).
The collection consists of a manuscript, letters and diaries. The manuscript was edited by Joseph Henry Hightower Moore and is titled "Oak Lawn: War-Time Letters of the Atkins Family and the Plantation Diary of James Lewis Adams." Part One of the manuscript contains transcriptions of all the letters and detailed information about the letter writers and their relationship to Thomas Washington Atkins. There are also chapters on Atkins family history, Oak Lawn plantation, and antebellum Henry County society, culture, and politics. Part Two contains transcriptions of the diaries of James Lewis Adams and includes chapters on his family, his neighbors, and Oak Lawn plantation. Only the months of January, April, June and September are transcribed.
The letters, dated 1856 to 1863, are to Thomas Washington Atkins from his family, friends, and fellow soldiers. Early family letters mention health, social events,and political views, especially regarding secession. War-time letters mostly concern the health and situations of family and friends. Later war-time letters often show weariness at the loss of life and continuation of the war. The following soldiers exchanged letters with Atkins: William Parks Phillips, Samuel P. Shaw, John L. Giles, Fleming Parks, C. B. Bledsoe, Samuel D. Nutt, William C. Nutt, Lewis O. Niles, and brother-in-law Nehemiah G. Andrews.
Taking place after the death of Atkins and Andrews, the correspondence from 1864 is that of Eliza Jane Atkins writing her husband, Robert M. Walker, a soldier guard duty at Andersonville Prison, as General Sherman invaded Georgia.
The two original diaries of James Lewis Adams are dated January -November 1886 and include details of his health, work on Oak Lawn plantation and an earthquake on August 31, 1886.
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online as part of America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia.
Atkins family papers, ms 3710. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the University of Georgia Libraries.