This past weekend, the decade-long task of disinterring Nathan Bedford Forrest from a park in Memphis and reburying him in Columbia, Tennessee, came to a close. Some people view this as a good thing: placing the famed Confederate cavalry general in a spot where people actually care. Others view this as a dangerous precedent. If one Confederate can be disinterred and moved, then how about the others? While this post does not usually support the idea of moving the remains of old soldiers from their resting spots, it has actually happened several times before.
Forrest, following the war, returned to Tennessee, became president of a railroad, and then died in October 1877. He was originally buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. Later, the remains of both he and his wife were interred under an equestrian statue in Forrest Park. In September 2021, their remains were reinterred at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee.
Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers on the night of May 2, 1863, during the fighting near Chancellorsville, Virginia. He lingered for several days before dying at Guinea Station on May 10. His body was transported to Lexington, Virginia, where he was interred in a family plot in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Later, his remains and those of his wife were removed to a different plot in the cemetery and reinterred under a monument bearing his likeness. The Presbyterian Cemetery was renamed the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery in 1949, and then the Oak Grove Cemetery in 2020.
Ambrose Powell Hill must be one of the most well- traveled post-mortem generals. Following his death near Petersburg, Virginia, on April 2, 1865, Hill was originally interred in the old Winston Family Cemetery near Coalfield, Chesterfield County. In 1867, Hill’s remains were moved to Hollywood Cemetery. In June 1891, the remains were again moved, this time to the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road. Thanks to a recent ruling by the Richmond City Council, it appears that Hill is going to be moved once again, possibly to Culpeper, Virginia.
Patrick Cleburne, Hiram Granbury, and Otho Strahl were all Confederate generals killed at the battle of Franklin. All three were originally interred in the potter’s field at Rose Hill in Columbia, Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, they were removed to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashwood, Tennessee. Many years later, all three were exhumed and reburied in different cemeteries. Patrick Cleburne was reburied in Helena, Arkansas. Otho Strahl was reburied in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Hiram Granbury was reburied in Granbury, Texas.
Albert Sidney Johnston, killed in April 1862 at the battle of Shiloh, was originally interred in New Orleans. In January 1867, he was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
William Barksdale was mortally wounded in the fighting on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg. He died the following day and was buried in the yard of the Hummelbaugh House. In January 1867, Barksdale was reburied in the Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi.
Richard Garnett was killed during killed in a skirmish at Corrick’s Ford, Virginia (now West Virginia) on July 13, 1861. He was originally interred in Baltimore, Maryland. He was later reinterred next to his wife and a child in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
|Jefferson Davis reburial in Richmond, 1893. (The Valentine)|
It is not only some generals who have been reburied. Confederate president Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans on December 6, 1889. His body was laid to rest in a vault in Metairie Cemetery. After many requests, his widow agreed to allow his remains to be reinterred in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. He was reburied there in 1893.
Confederate Senator Landon Carter Haynes passed away in Memphis on February 17, 1875. He was originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery, but later (1902) his son had those remains removed to Jackson Cemetery, Jackson, Tennessee, where he lies in an unmarked grave.
There are doubtless many others whose remains have been moved over the years, such as the eight members of the crew of the C.S.S. Hunley who were reburied in the Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2004. It would be nice to know how many of the 425 Confederate generals have been moved at least once. Of course, there are a handful whose current resting places are still a mystery anyway. We’ll save that for another post.