By R. W. Jones
During the long and bloody war which
the United States Government under President Abraham Lincoln waged against
the Confederate States of America, many sanguinary battles, besides skirmishes,
were fought on the soil of Mississippi. For years Federal and Confederate
armies marched, bivouacked and camped upon her territory. Hospitals
were established in a number of towns for the sick and wounded soldiers.
the number of engagements is variously stated at from eighty to two hundred
and thirty-eight. The destruction of life was fearful, and of property,
incalculable. Wherever the Federal armies went they left broad tracks of
charred, blackened ruins, desolation, starvation and death. This was especially
true of the army commanded by Gen. W. T. Sherman, which used, besides cannon
and rifle, fire and plunder. Thousands of good women and innocent children
were rendered homeless and made beggars for bread; these things increased
death’s harvest and enlarged the burial grounds. Nothing Weyler ever did
in Cuba was more heartless than the cruelties and suffering imposed upon
the noncombatants in Mississippi. Some of the Confederate soldiers who
fell in battle were hastily buried by their comrades; in other instances
they were buried in trenches by the Federals and the places of burial left
without any marks to indicate them. Those who died of wounds or sickness
in hospitals were buried under conditions more favorable for marking and
protecting their graves. For years after the close of the long, trying,
exhausting struggle the people of Mississippi were so impoverished, so
humiliated and so oppressed by the measures and agents of the Federal Government,
by the “Carpetbaggers” and “scalawags,” which that government turned loose
upon them that they could do nothing towards enclosing and keeping in order
the graves of their fallen comrades. For this reason many of these burial
grounds became neglected and the names of thousands of soldiers were lost.
As political and material conditions improved, as the people recovered
more of civil rights and the privilege of local self government, their
native, noble impulses returned and they honored themselves by putting
forth their best, most generous efforts to decorate the graves and erect
monuments to the memory of those who gave their lives in defense of that
cause which Mississippi espoused with the other seceding states.
Our Southern ladies, patterns of purity and
gentleness, exemplars of patriotic devotion to duty, teachers of reverence
for the noble and brave, have been especially active in this glorious work
of preserving and honoring the memory of our fallen Confederates. It is
a work of a civilized people to hold in grateful memory and reverence the
names of those who sacrificed themselves in defence of home and country.
Federal cemeteries have been laid out and enclosed
and decorated with commendable skill and taste, and are kept neat and attractive,
almost without regard to expense. Federal veterans also receive a liberal
support. Thus the government shows its grateful appreciation of the services
of men who performed hard and perilous duty in its armies. All good and
true men honor the Southern people both for their bravery and fortitude
as soldiers, and for the measure of their fidelity to those who bared their
breasts to the storm of war in the Confederate ranks.
Our lamented President, William McKinley, at
Atlanta, Ga., December 14, 1898, delivered a most patriotic address, which
met with the heartfelt approval of the people throughout the entire country;
and especially did he thereby greatly endear himself to the Southern people.
We quote from his address the following:
“Sectional lines no longer mar the map of the United States.
Sectional feeling no longer holds back the love we bear each other. Praternity
is the national anthem, sung by a chorus of forty-five States and our Territories
at home and beyond the seas. The Union is once more the common altar of
our love and loyalty, our devotion and sacrifice. The old flag again waves
over us in peace with new glories, which your sons and ours, have this
year added to its sacred folds. What cause we have for rejoicing, saddened
only by the fact that so many of our brave men fell on field or sickened
and died from hardship and exposure, and others returning, bring wounds
and disease from which they will long suffer. The memory of the dead will
be a precious legacy, and the disabled will be the nation’s care.
President Roosevelt displayed magnanimity in a
recent act by which he showed his high appreciation of a distinguished
living Confederate officer, the gallant and true Gen. F. M. Cockrill, of
Missouri. It is indeed gratifying to us to know that the passions of the
war period have so far passed away that the Federal Congress is willing
to adopt President McKinley’s declaration that “Every soldier’s grave,
made during our unfortunate Civil War, is a tribute to American valor”
and to make appropriation to care for the graves of Confederate soldiers,
who died in the North. This should encourage us and stimulate us to do
more to care tenderly for the graves of those who sleep among us.
“A nation which cares for its disabled soldiers, as we have always
done, will never lack defenders. The national cemeteries for those who
fell in battle all prove that the dead as well as the living have our love.
What an array of silent sentinels we have, and with what loving care their
graves are kept! Every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil
war is a tribute to American valor.
“And while, when these graves were made, we differed widely about
the future of this Government, these differences were long ago settled
by the arbitrament of arms * * * and the time has now come in the evolution
of sentiment and feeling under the providence of God, when in the spirit
of fraternity we should share with you in care of the graves of the Confederate
“The cordial feeling now happily existing between the North and
South prompts this gracious act, and if it needed further justification
it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously
shown in the year just passed by the sons and grandsons of these heroic
“What a glorious future awaits us if unitedly, wisely, and bravely
we face the new problems now pressing upon us, determined to solve them
-for right and humanity.”
The object of this paper is to set forth the
number and state of Confederate cemeteries and Confederate monuments in
Mississippi. In order to get a proper historical basis for it, I sent the
following questions to chancery clerks of the counties and in some counties
to other persons in addition:
1. Is there a Confederate Cemetery in your county?
2. Where is it located?
3. Is it enclosed?
4. Is there a Confederate monument?
5. Is the Cemetery well kept?
6. Who takes care of it?
7. How many soldiers buried there?
8. From what armies were they?
g. From what battles were the wounded sent?
10. Give names of the dead if you can.
The replies received furnish information for the county sketches, here
given in alphabetical order.
The reports given above are not in all cases accurate; a few cemeteries
have not been reported. I received no estimate of the number buried in
the cemetery near Vicksburg; but taking the data I have and making the
best estimate I can of some cemeteries, the number of Confederate soldiers
buried in Mississippi during the the war foots up 9,001. This does not
include the soldiers buried on battle fields, of which there is no record.
Though a few of these cemeteries are strangely neglected, I am proud
to report that they are generally kept with tender and patriotic devotion.
These reports show that there are in the State eighteen Confederate
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Copyright 2001 - Ellen
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