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After 93 years, Civil War drum returns to Sandersville | News

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After 93 years, Civil War drum returns to Sandersville

Jan Sparks' great-grandfather was a drummer boy in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

She said that growing up, the drum was displayed in her house.

Now, it's displayed publicly so that others can appreciate it, too.

Jan's great grandfather, Thomas Harris Sparks was only 14 years old at the start of the Civil War.

Since the minimum age to enlist was 16, Sparks became a volunteer for the Confederate Army as a drummer boy.

"He carried the drum and was a drummer boy until the Battle of Cold Harbor," Jan Sparks said, "At Cold Harbor, the fighting was so fierce, he put the drum down and picked up a gun, and that was the last he saw of the drum."

Until 50 years after the war.

That's when Thomas Sparks saw a letter in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A New York man wrote the letter saying he had the drum and was offering to sell it back to the original owner.

"So after 52 years, the drum was returned to the family here in Sandersville," Jan said.

It's been in the family for 93 years.

Sparks donated the drum to the Sandersville Public Library, but in 1921, the library burned down.

The only thing that was saved was his drum.

And now, after almost a century, the drum has found a new home .

Becky Buck, a volunteer at the Washington County Genealogy Research Center, said she's wanted the drum in the center ever since reading about it.

She contacted Jan Sparks, and the rest is history.

"We close at 3, and I stayed here until 8:00 that night, got so involved in this," Buck said.

"To know that it's coming to where it's meant to be is very rewarding, and to know where it's going to be appreciated by many people rather than just the family," Jan Sparks said.

The Genealogy Center says an upcoming documentary on the Civil War should include Thomas Sparks' story in a documentary about the Civil War.

They say the filming should start in June.

Saturday is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia.

That means there will be historical observances at locations across the state, including downtown Macon.


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