Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Damp and Desolate Place: The Confederate Cemetery at Brice's Crossroads.

The Battle of Brice’s Crossroads was fought June 10, 1864 where four roads intersect about 7 miles west of Baldwyn, Mississippi.  An estimated 3,500 troops commanded by Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest routed 8,100 Federals lead by Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis in the day long contest.  With several guns from Morton's Battery and cavalry fighting as mounted infantry Forrest had little problem defeating Union cavalry and infantry and capturing several pieces of artillery and numerous supply wagons.  The battle was typically Forrest and one of his greatest victories and while it kept him in Mississippi and away from Major General William T. Sherman’s supply line during the Atlanta Campaign the battle did not have a major impact on the outcome of the civil war.  

                                         Monument Honoring the Union and Confederate Forces

The Confederate forces held the field when the battle ended.  They were also left with the task of burying the dead.  Union dead were buried in trenches on the battlefield and later disinterred and taken to the National Cemetery at Memphis, Tennessee.  Ninety -six Confederate dead were buried in a section of the Bethany Associate Reform Presbyterian Church Cemetery which is southeast of the road intersection and the Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield.   

I visited the Confederate Cemetery in April 2009.  It was a rainy day and I remember how desolate and damp everything felt and how unkept the cemetery appeared to be. Somehow it seemed like the brave men who died and were buried here deserved more, then again maybe being buried on hallowed ground is enough.

                                        Headstone of Sergeant William C. Hardy, 7th Tennessee Cavalry

Headstones of Daniel J. Coleman, Company E, 16th Tennessee Cavalry & Robert Owens, Company B, 8th Mississippi Cavalry

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