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Columbus, the seat of Lowndes County, Mississippi, is situated in the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, primarily east of the Tombigbee River, although portions of the city are north and northeast. Columbus Air Force Base is just north of the city, and surrounding communities include Billups, Mayhew, New Hope Park, Steens, Wells, and Whitebury. Tuscaloosa, Alabama is about sixty miles to the southeast. The first European-American to settle in the area was John Pitchlynn, the U.S. interpreter for the Choctaw Nation, who built a home and farm on Plymouth Bluff. Columbus was formed in 1821, although prior to its incorporation it was known as Possum Town, which continues to be used as a nickname for Columbus. When nearby Plymouth flooded in 1817, the survivors moved to Columbus. During the Civil War, Columbus was a hospital town, which also had an arsenal that produced gunpowder, handguns, and a few cannons. A Union invasion of the city was halted by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Confederate General Jacob H. Sharp, who had moved to Columbus as a child, owned the Columbus Independent newspaper after the war. The Columbus Air Force Base was established during World War II, and is currently one of only four flight training bases in the United States. Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus.


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