Henry Washington Waters
61st Regiment of Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Company D
Henry Washington Waters, nicknamed “Dock” by his military colleagues, was born in Bulloch County, Georgia in 1829. Along with two brothers and four cousins, he enlisted in the Confederate services on September 9, 1861.
Washington Waters served under the leadership of some of the South’s most illustrious commanders, including Thomas J “Stonewall” Jackson, Richard S Ewell, and John Brown Gordon. His experience included combat at Seven Days, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.
During the Battle of the Wilderness, he, along with a nephew, Thomas Waters, participated in the famous Gordon’s Flank Attack, one of the final, decisive actions of that momentous battle. A member of Company D, writing many years later, related the preamble to the first flank attack with the following words from General Gordon, following the lead of Robert E Lee:
“Boys, there are Yankees in the front, and plenty of them, and they must be moved Or the day is lost, and we must move them. Now all who are faint-hearted, fall out, You shall not be hurt for it; for we do not want any to go but heroes – we want brave Georgians.”
And “move them” they did. Washington Waters, one of those Georgia heroes, survived that action unscathed, as did many of the members fo his unit. Unfortunately, just six days later, he was taken prisoner during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. He was imprisoned at Point Pleasant, Maryland, was transferred to Elmyra, New York, then back to Maryland. He remained in Maryland for a few months before being released in a prisoner exchange. Taken ill soon thereafter, he was sent home on sick furlough. The war came to an end before he was able to return to the unit.
Waters lived until 1873 and was buried in Eastside Cemetery in Statesboro Georgia.