Under a broiling afternoon sun, members of area Sons of Confederate Veterans camps met Saturday at the Lake Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Metter to hold a memorial service for Confederate Army Private William Rowan Forehand.
Forehand was a member of the Yancey Guards in the Civil War that was part of Company D of the 54th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. He was from Screven County and he was killed in battle at Morris Island in late August or early September of 1863.
The event was organized by the Dixie Guards, Camp #1942 of the SCV, who are located in Metter. They were led at the service by Camp Commander Hu Daughtry, whose wife is a direct descendant of Forehand.
Bulloch County's Ogeechee Rifles Camp Commander Deke Cox opened the meeting with prayer, followed by the singing of anthems, and then some introductory remarks. Camp historian Ted Lewis spoke about the Yancey Guards' service record and their battles fought.
Fifth Brigade Commander Mike Mull spoke to the group of the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers, such as Forehand. He then mentioned how the Confederate dead should be treated with the same respect as the veterans of all of America's other wars.
Everyone was then treated to some fine singing. First, Tarah and Haley Thompson sang a duet. Then came the Rewis Family, which sang a number of songs, including Wayfaring Stranger, Shenandoah, and Dixie.
The eulogy for Forehand was given by Daughtry. Daughtry said the Forehand clan lived in Screven, Burke and Effingham counties. He went on to say that William's life had never been easy.
After his father was murdered, Forehand and his brothers entered service in Georgia military units when the Civil War began. Unfortunately, at wars end only one brother had survived, with William dying in 1863 and another brother being killed just days before the war's end.
The battle for Fort Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston's harbor is well-known for the fact the main Union force attacking the fort was the 54th Massachusetts, an all-black Union regiment.
The Union was defeated with more than 1,500 dead, which some historians say could have been largely avoided if a different battle plan had been adopted by the commanders.
After the memorial service, all attention was turned to the Civil War-era artillery paces, which proceeded to fire a salute, accompanied by a line of Confederate re-enactors in authentic Confederate garb.
The gathering was brought to a close by Confederate re-enactor Cain Griffin, who blew a solemn salute to Private Forehand on his bugle, as all in attendance stood quietly in the late afternoon sun.