8/28/2004

A.F. Samples

Samples, Augustus “Gus” Franklin
b.9/19/1843; d.1/20/1926.
CSA, “Griffin Light Artillery (“The Church Bell Battery”)
in Scogin’s & Jeffress’ Batteries;” Private.
Dixie cemetery; Stephens County, OK.

On September 19, 1843 in Pike County, Georgia, a baby
boy was born to Jesse & Elizabeth Samples. They named
that little boy “Augustus Franklin Samples,” but in
later years, he would simply be known as “Gus.”

At the age of eighteen, Gus volunteered for duty in
the Confederate States Army and enlisted in Scogin’s
Battery of the Griffin Light Artillery, a unit that
was organized on May 7, 1862 in Griffin, Georgia, and
described in the Confederate Military History,
Expanded Edition
(Broadfoot Publishing; Wilmington,
NC; 1987, pp.605-606) as:
“. . . one of Georgia’s most gallant
commands . . .”
The Griffin Light Artillery was better
known in some circles as “The Church Bell Battery.”
Kingman Porter Moore, one of Gus’ fellow Pike County
citizens (a physician there following the war) and a
fellow Private in Griffin’s Light Artillery (cf.
http://ranger95.crosswinds.net/georgia/
artillery/rosters/scogins_bat_lite_arty_rost.html
for a roster of the men who served in Scogin’s Battery)
tells how the Griffin Light Artillery came to acquire
its nickname:
“... know where our guns
came from. The securing of brass or copper ... was
almost out of the question ... and an appeal was made
to the churches of Georgia ... to contribute their
church bells to be molded in[to] cannon. ... in a
very short time a number of these bells had been
molded into four beautiful twelve pound Napoleon
guns, mounted on brand new carriages, and shipped
to our company at Calhoun, and we had the honor
and unique distinction of being the first 'Church-bell
Battery' in the Confederate Service. ... all the Company,
felt a very peculiar pride in our guns, and we all
pledged ourselves never to bring reproach or dishonor
on those guns. ... And it was not until, in the awful and
bloody struggle of September 19, 1863, at
Chickamauga that we had to surrender the first one
of our 'Churchbell guns.' ... It was not until about half
of the men, and every horse but one, were shot down
around the piece that it was left in the hands of the
enemy. And though we sorrowed over the loss of
our friends and companions, we all felt a sense of
profound sadness over the loss of the first one of
our Churchbell guns.”
(cf. www.rootsweb.com/~gapike/CWMemories2.htm
for Porter’s lengthy, enlightening memoirs of what
some aspects of service in Scogin’s Battery was
like)
Following the fighting at Chickamauga
(where 13 of the 89 men in the outfit died), Gus and
his company did garrison duty at Charleston, Tennessee
until rejoining Bragg’s army in the retreat from
Dalton following the battle of Missionary Ridge. The
spring of 1864 would find Griffin’s Light Artillery
involved in the fighting at Resaca, New Hope Church
and Jonesboro.

Griffin’s company suffered heavy losses of horses
at New Hope (May 1864) and many of the men wound up
being transferred to other units or re-shuffled to other
batteries within the Griffin Light Artillery. On June 20,
1864, Gus was re-assigned to Jeffress’s Battery and he
would go on to serve with this battery until his
company surrendered with Gen. Joseph E. Johnson at
Wilmington, North Carolina in 1865.

Gus returned to Pike County, Georgia after the war,
but moved to Panola County, Texas in 1871 and began to
make his living as a farmer. There he came upon “Argent
Aurora King,” the daughter of William and Winifred
[Hardy] King, whom he married; however, sometime early
in the 1880’s, Argent died (probably in Erath County,
Texas). By then, Gus had five children to raise, though,
and moving to Anderson County, Texas, he married “Sallie
Brown” in 1887. Gus fathered seven more children through
Sally, Sally dying in childbirth in 1908. Gus would
continue to live in Slocum (Anderson County, Texas)
until he moved to Jefferson County, Oklahoma in 1916.

The year before he moved to Oklahoma, Gus applied
for, and received, a Confederate’s soldier’s pension
from the State of Texas (#31413 – Anderson County).
At that time he was seventy-two years of age. On his
pension application he stated that he had no
occupation and that his physical condition was “poor.”
Six years later, at age seventy-eight, when Gus applied
for, and received (January 1922), a indigent soldier’s
pension from Oklahoma (#4754, reel #12), he
described his health as “feeble” and listed all his
personal property as “cows and mules worth $300.”

Gus lived four more years in the Loco/Ringling area of
Oklahoma. He died in Loco and is buried in the Dixie
Cemetery in Stephens County, Oklahoma, just across
the line from Jefferson County.

There is no indication of his military service on his
gravestone.