Sully Witte – News Editor
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Howard Chalmers, Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veteran’s Moultrie Camp #27 stood alongside Mount Pleasant’s very own historian, Mary Julia Royall Thursday looking out over the graves of our confederate soldiers.
They were in Mount Pleasant’s only Confederate Cemetery, located in the Old Village to facilitate a historical “passing of the torch.”
Royall, president of the Dr. John DuPré Confederate Memorial Association (JDCMA) bequeathed the Confederate Cemetery to the Moultrie Camp in an effort to ensure that the Cemetery is preserved in perpetuity.
It’s what Jeff Antley, South Carolina Division 10th Brigade commander called a proactive move because members of the aging JDCMA may not be able to care for the Cemetery in the future.
Moultrie Camp has been heavily involved in the cemetery’s upkeep and preservation over the years, even long before the camp was officially established in 2002. The SCV is a historical honor society dedicated to education and historic preservation.
“Moultrie Camp is a very active camp in Mount Pleasant and the entire community and we have a younger membership that has demonstrated the importance of the Cemetery and our commitment to care for it,” Chalmers said.
Members are men who are descendants of those men and women who served honorably in the Confederate Armed Forces. This is not the first time ownership of the Cemetery has changed hands. Since its establishment, the Cemetery has been cared for by at least seven historical or municipal preservation entities.
The earliest known burial took place in 1814.
A monument lot was established in 1867 and a monument to the Confederate dead was erected by the Confederate Memorial Association and dedicated May, 6 1884. The fence that is still in place today was also erected, sectioning off where the confederate soldiers of this area are laid to rest.
In 1897 the Wade Hampton Camp #27, Sons of Confederate Veterans was established and Robert Venning Royall was named commander. Ten years later the Cemetery was transferred to the camp by Emily J. Tew, president of the Confederate Memorial Association.
On April 8, 1921 the Dr. John Y. DuPré Chapter, of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was formed under the leadership of Gen C. Irving Walker, confederate veteran (Commander of the 10th South Carolina Voluntary Infantry, CSA). Almost a year later the cemetery was transferred to this organization.
However, on Oct. 2, 1953, the last meting of the Dr. John Y. DuPré Chapter, UDC was held and the organization was reorganized as the Dr. John Y. DuPré Confederate Memorial Association.
The Cemetery has been under this organizations watchful eye since.
This decision to bequeath the Cemetery to the Moultrie Camp is a historical milestone that was done because Royall said Moultrie Camp was the appropriate organization to care for it.
“The SCV has filled in a lot of blanks when it comes to this cemetery and they’ve beautified the place so nicely,” Royall said. “The Alhambra Garden Club also played a role in the upkeep. The purpose of passing this responsibility on,” she said is to ensure that throughout the years it is never abandoned.”
Twenty one names of Confederate soldiers are listed on the monument at this Cemetery and four more are buried there.
The War of 1812 Monument located in the Cemetery is the only one in the south east. The Cemetery features other signs and markers detailing other early conflicts.
“I am happy the preservation of the Cemetery will continue,” said Royall, “and it is with great pleasure that the Confederate Memorial Association bequeaths it to the Moultrie Camp.”
There is evidence that there are ore graves outside the fenced in area. Jonathan M. Leader, with the State Archeology and Anthropology Department was called in last year when contractors unearthed the bones of two different people. The bones were believed to date back to at least the Civil War.
Chalmers said that research will continue into the identities of the two graves unearthed.
“Moultrie Camp is honored that CMA is entrusting ownership of the Cemetery back to the SCV. We are committed to continuing the great work the CMA has done over the last 50 years in maintaining and protecting and preserving the final resting place of our confederate ancestors,” said Chalmers.
“Moultrie Camp’s ownership of the Cemetery ensures that the Cemetery will continue to be preserved and protected for years to come.”
As owners of the Cemetery, the camp will be responsible for cleaning grave stones, landscaping and general maintenance.
In addition, the camp participates in the annual Confederate Memorial Day Services on May 10 and they place a wreath on the Confederate Monument each Christmas.
The camp also participates in the Mount Pleasant Christmas Parade, and the Battle of Seccessionville at Boone Hall.