Historical Fiction author Jessica James visits Confederate Cemetery.
Confederate Cemetery outside Chattanooga with trees blossomed.

Magical History Tour

Continuing my posts about my trip to the Deep South, I wanted to share some photos of a Confederate Cemetery we visited outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I probably would never have found it without the help of a Tennessee reader, who emailed me before I left and recommended it as a place to see. (Thanks, Brett).

I did a little research upon returning home and learned how the cemetery came into being:

In January  of 1900, the Nathan Bedford Forrest Confederate Veterans Camp at Chattanooga received a letter from a man who said he had an abandoned cemetery on his farm. The man wanted to know why no one was caring for the Confederates on his farm.

Historical Fiction author Jessica James visits Confederate Cemetery

The veterans, not wishing any comrade to lie neglected, appointed a committee to investigate this situation. When they visited the home, they found that the soldiers were from General Bragg’s army and that they had died in a nearby hospital.

According to the sign, there are about 155 Confederate Soldiers buried in the cemetery but due to deterioration of the wooden markers and lack of records, they are all unknown.

For a little background, General Braxton Bragg succeeded General Beauregard as commander of the Army of Mississippi shortly after the Battle of Shiloh and on July 21, 1862 ordered 27,816 men to Chattanooga in preparation for his famed Kentucky campaign.

Singled tombstone in the Confederate Cemetery.

These men had been in camps in northern Mississippi where poor water, shallow wells, and dysentery had made many of them sick. As a result, Brigadier General J.M. Wither’s division, (which consisted of men from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Caroline), was placed at Tyner’s Station on the railroad 10 miles from town. It was discovered that the men buried at Silverdale Cemetery are from his division hospital.

The hospital contained about 100 tents, and remained at Tyner’s station until it was moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in December due to the weather becoming too cold for the men to survive with no real housing.

Gate to the Cemetery.

At a veterans meeting in 1903, attention was called to the neglected condition of the cemetery and a committee was appointed. The necessary funds ($75) were raised to purchase the lot, and by 1934 the highway commissioner had erected a large concrete archway over the drive.

A Chattanooga newspaper article on June 26, 1979, brought the cemetery to the attention of the Chattanooga Area Relic and Historical Association. This group has maintained its position as a trustee, and has worked diligently for the past 25 years to maintain constant care for the Confederates buried in Silverdale Confederate Cemetery.

They have certainly done a good job, because the cemetery is very peaceful and beautifully kept. I’m glad we took the time to make this extra stop on our journey.

My next post will be on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.

 

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