Published Friday, October 12, 2012
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
Authentic Confederate uniforms, shots from a cannon and the singing of “Dixie” were all part of the annual tribute to William Thomas Overby.
Overby, “the Nathan Hale of the Confederacy,” grew up in Coweta County. Several members of his family are buried at Cokes Chapel United Methodist Church near Sharpsburg.
Overby was hanged in Virginia on Sept. 23, 1864, when he refused to reveal the location of his Confederate military unit. He was later posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor.
Overby was initially buried on a farm near Front Royal, Va. In 1997, he was reinterred at Oak Hill Cemetery north of downtown Newnan. The annual William Thomas Overby Day Memorial Service was held at his gravesite on the morning of Sept. 22.
Mike Webb, commander of Coweta Guards Camp 715, Sons of Confederate Veterans, welcomed those attending and led the program. Proclamations were read by Newnan Mayor Keith Brady and Coweta County Commission Chairman Paul Poole.
Dr. Jeff Lowe, a minister, was the keynote speaker.
Jonathan Till led the SCV charge, and Cal Kohler led the pledge to the Georgia flag and the salute to the Confederate flag. Wreaths were presented by Frankie Lyle Chapter 2074, United Daughters of the Confederacy; Newnan Chapter 599, United Daughters of the Confederacy; and Gen. Longstreet Camp 1289, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The honor guard cannon salute was presented by members of Ferrell’s Battalion, Phillips Legion. Bugler Thomas Lee played “Lights Out” following the cannon salute.
Dan Loftin, Coweta Guards chaplain, and Jennings White, a member of the camp, led prayers during the service. Loftin also played his guitar and led the group in singing “Dixie.”
(To view photos from this ceremony, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Events / Newnan for the Photo Gallery.)