Granite monuments dedicated to Civil War Confederates

by Marcus E. Howard
December 12, 2009

The newly installed granite monuments honoring Civil War veterans buried in the Marietta Confederate Cemetery were dedicated on Saturday afternoon in a ceremony at Joseph E. Brown Park in Marietta.

The series of monuments honor the 1,000 known Confederate soldiers who are buried in the cemetery, adjacent to the park that is owned by the city. A sizeable crowd, including a number of Cobb officials, attended the dedication despite the frigid weather. A number of Civil war re-enactors present added to the event’s historical tone.

"We are here today to remember; to remember these men engraved," said keynote speaker Dan Cox, Marietta Museum of History founder. "They are forgotten by most and remembered by a few."

The Confederate cemetery was established in 1863. Most of the 3,000 Confederate soldiers buried there have unmarked graves. The engraved names of the 1,000 known soldiers honored in the new memorial appear on two large granite walls. Their names came from an original listing in the late-1800s compiled by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The men’s names are listed according to their states. On the back of one wall is a list of individuals and organizations who contributed to the more than $100,000 raised to erect the monument. On the back of the other wall is a map of the Southern states represented in the cemetery, a battle site map and a timeline of the Marietta Confederate Cemetery, beginning with its establishment in 1863 and ending with the April 20, 1989, date the last burial of an unknown solider was conducted.

Between the two walls is a pair of bronze boots atop a square, granite pedestal, designed to honor the memory of the other buried soldiers whose names are not known. Wreaths were laid beside it during the ceremony by those representing the Ladies of the Old Guard, Old Guard of Gate City Guard, Centennial Legion, Kennesaw Battlefield Camp No. 70, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the UDC.

In addition, several granite benches, featuring historical information and bronze sculptures by San Diego sculptor T.J. Dixon, are located around the ceremony to allow for self-guided tours, beginning with the wall monument.

The master of ceremonies for the dedication was Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton. The Rev. G. R. Graves began the ceremony with a prayer. A poem titled, "Creed of Living History," was read by Harper Harris, lead interpreter at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. And Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway entertained the crowd with a solo trumpet rendition of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and "Dixie." He closed the ceremony with the playing of "Taps."

Cox said he hopes that one day the Confederate soldiers will receive the same type of recognition paid to the Union soldiers they fought against, who are buried close by in the Marietta National Cemetery off Washington Avenue.

"If it weren’t for those few who still remember their sacrifice, they would be lost. We are fortunate enough to have a few people here in town to do that remembering," Cox said.

"Today, through the interference of this group, this wall of honor is being dedicated. Here in the Garden of Heroes, here where the boys in gray rest, we gather to honor and remember their sacrifices."

The Marietta Confederate Cemetery Foundation, Friends of Brown Park and the city of Marietta are responsible for the memorial. Former Marietta Councilwoman Betty Hunter, the cemetery foundation’s president, worked 17 years to make the idea of the memorial a reality.

"It’s been a long time coming, and it seemed like we would never complete this project," said Hunter. "I’m just greatly pleased that we’ve been able to do this because we’re paying honor to people whose ancestors didn’t even know where they were buried. And now they can come here and actually see that they’re buried here."

copyright © 2009 Marietta Daily Journal 

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