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An epistle on behalf of William Roan Forehand


In the argot of the Antebellum South, the term “epistle” was synonymous with “missive or letter.”  Since history tells us that William Roan Forehand was, indeed, a product of the Antebellum South, I have elected to employ “this particular word” in my rhetoric.

I am writing this “Epistle to the Editor” for William Roan Forehand primarily because he is unable to pen it himself. Quite laconically, since he has been in a state of eternal somnolence since the late summer of 1863, it would be quite impossible for him to do so.

William Roan Forehand was one of my wife’s great-great grandfathers. But, lamentably, the sands in his earthly hourglass ran out long before he attained his allotted three score and 10 years on “God’s Green Earth.”  However, according to the Book of Ecclesiastes, such are the inequalities of life.

Private William Roan Forehand, late of Company D of the 54th Georgia Infantry Regiment, was killed in combat at Battery Wagner, on Morris Island, S.C., during late August/early September1863.  He left a widow and five minor children to mourn his premature departure from the land of mankind.  

His site of burial is an unmarked, mass grave.  In other words, his venue of perpetual repose is one of history’s many mysteries.

My wife’s aforementioned antecedent was a Confederate foot soldier. As a citizen of the Confederate States of America, he answered his country’s call and marched off to war in late 1862. He was merely a yeoman farmer who worked his own land. His position was such that he was fighting for Southern independence.  The forces of the North had invaded his homeland. He had every reason to protect his home and family…

I perceive the profanation of the Confederate Monument in Screven County, as well as the editorial comments from Dr. Greg Brock as both pusillanimous and personal attacks on my wife’s family. As Private William Roan Forehand fought in a Screven County Company, I feel that he purchased a small portion of that monument when he gave his life for his country.

Finally, one of his great grandsons was annihilated in Belgium by a German missile shortly after the Christmas of 1944. John R. Forehand, Jr. was barely 20 years of age. In fact, I have a picture of him — as my aunt was once his high school sweetheart. 

I’m certain that he never dreamed that, one day, some misguided individuals would compare his Confederate great grandfather to the very Nazis from whom he was “saving the world.”

Both William Roan Forehand and John R. Forehand, Jr. were American heroes and true American patriots. That much, I am sure of.

Hu Daughtry

Genealogy/Recruiting Officer

Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans


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