Civil War Goes Digital

Columbus, Ga. – The Columbus State University Archives earned one of the inaugural Digital Library of Georgia digitization grants that will allow online access to the Civil War era letters and documents of General Henry Benning, for whom Fort Benning was named.

“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,” said University Archivist David Owings. “The collection will be keyword searchable facilitating in-depth research for scholars or anyone with an interest in the Civil War era.”

Benning was a prominent figure in the Civil War who participated in 21 engagements including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. His regiment was at first part of the Army of northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee and later under Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee. During the Battle of Antietam he earned the nickname “Old Rock” due to his regiment’s unfaltering defense of the Confederate right flank. By 1863, he had been promoted to Brigadier General. He continued to serve in that capacity until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. After the war, Benning returned to Columbus and resumed practicing law until his death in 1875.

The project will digitize approximately 120 documents, mostly letters from Benning that were donated to the CSU Archives by the Columbus Museum. The DLG will provide the library with standardized meta-data, meaning the collection will be fully described for people all over the world to view online. Once complete, the project will be hosted on the CSU Digital Archives website and the Digital Library of Georgia website ( and