Henry L. Benning
A U.S. Army fort in Columbus is named for a man who waged war against the U.S. Army.
Henry Benning, born in Columbia County, was one of Georgia’s most outspoken disunionists. During the sectional crisis of the 1850s, Benning defended slavery. He ran for Congress on a Southern rights platform and lost. But he found his voice as an associate justice of Georgia’s Supreme Court, which he argued was equal to the U.S. Supreme Court. After Lincoln’s election, Benning helped draft the state’s Ordinance of Secession, and served as Georgia’s secession representative to Virginia, urging the old dominion to follow Georgia’s lead as the only way preserve slavery.
Benning wasn’t all talk: he rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He served bravely through the entire war in every major battle from the Seven Days to Appomattox, including Chickamauga in Georgia in 1863.
Fort Benning in Columbus, the home of the U.S. Army Infantry, honors the rebel general born on April 2, 1814, Today in Georgia History.