Confederate memoirist Sam Watkins wrote from the perspective of the “high private,” and has been the voice of the common soldier in the Army of Tennessee for scholars, public historians, and viewers of Ken Burns’s documentary series. Yet this essay delves into the immense wealth and wartime slave-owning of Watkins himself and his famous Co. H, First Tennessee Infantry. Watkins’s own camp slave, Sanker, makes no appearance in his memoir. Once seen, however, Sanker provides a lens through which to see the intentional manipulation of Civil War memory by an important author in the Lost Cause canon.
Lewis, P. A. (2022). Rereading the High Private Restoring Class and Race to Co. Aytch. Journal of the Civil War Era, 12(2), 173–202. https://doi.org/10.1353/cwe.2022.0036