columbus is georgia's third largest city and is located on the chattahoochee river in west central georgia. the town of columbus was founded in 1828 across the chattahoochee river from a creek native american village. the creeks were expelled from the region in 1836 and later the site of their village became phenix city alabama. in the 1850's columbus was a prosperous cotton market town and manufacturing center. during the civil war columbus was a major ship building center for the confederacy. columbus also produced arms and textiles for the war effort. in april 1865 union general james wilson attacked columbus. by then confederate general robert e. lee had already surrendered at appomattox and the battle of columbus is concidered the last land battle of the civil war. after the battle columbus rapidly rebuilt it's infrastructure and prospered during the decade of radical reconstruction. today columbus is a transportation center and a large part of it's economy is based on neary fort benning.
of interest to the tourist is it's nicely restored downtown district and several interesting museums.
union general james h. wilson (1837-1925) graduated from the united states military academy in 1861. during the civil war wilson fought at the battle of fort polaski, antietam, and vicksburg. wilson also participated in the franklin-nashville and chattanooga campaigns. in april 1865 general wilson defeated the confederates defending columbus in the last major land battle of the civil war. unlike many union generals wilson only destroyed columbus' military targets. he ordered his troops not to burn any public, private buildings or homes. also wilson did not condone the looting of private property by his troops. this civilized behavior by union troops was uncommon in the later days of the civil war. after the civil war wilson became a railroad executive and later fought in the spanish-american war.