Marked for history: Group makes sure Confederate veterans aren’t forgotten

By Molly McGowan / Times-News
Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

GRAHAM — Since April, members of a local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp have been diligently visiting cemeteries across Alamance County, marking the weathered stones of more than 400 soldiers who died fighting for the Confederacy.

About 12 men in the Col. Charles F. Fisher Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 813, were tasked with placing replicas of the 1861 North Carolina state flag and the first national flag of the Confederacy at the graves — and they had a deadline.

Al Boswell, past commander of the local unit, said the goal was to have all the flags up by May 10 — the date on which North Carolina celebrates Confederate Memorial Day.

“There’s other states that do it in April,” said Boswell. “We do it in May.”

Boswell said that’s because after the Civil War ended in 1867, a group of women in Raleigh chose May 10 to remember fallen Confederate soldiers, since Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson had died on that date in 1863.

The Col. Charles F. Fisher Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 813 has been marking all the Confederate graves in Alamance County for the past 10 years, Boswell said. There are about 43 Confederate graves in Burlington’s Pine Hill Cemetery, another 23 in the cemetery at St. Marks’ Church, and about four or five in Elon’s Magnolia Cemetery, he said.

Many of the worn stone surfaces are inscribed with only the soldiers’ name and birth and death dates, but some bear the “C.S.A.” that hearkens back to a time when the Confederate States of America existed.

The grave of H.R. Smith in Pine Hill Cemetery designates him as a soldier who served in the C.S.A. Company E., 3rd North Carolina Regiment, 10th Battalion. The inscription under Thomas Brooks’ name, also in Pine Hill Cemetery, states, “Pvt. 6 N.C. State Troops C.S.A.”

Those men and their comrades will be remembered at a Saturday memorial event, held a day later than the official Confederate Memorial Day, said Boswell. Members of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans Unit and the United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter 944 will gather Saturday morning at the Alamance County Historic Courthouse in Graham.

“We will be flying the first national flag of the Confederacy at the courthouse,” said Boswell. “There will be firing of muskets at 9 (a.m.)”

He said the group will lay a wreath at the Confederate Soldiers Monument in downtown Graham, then do the same at the Alamance County War Memorial in front of the Alamance County Criminal Courts Building on Elm Street. The memorial service, which is open to the public, will close there with speeches at 2 p.m.

“This is our small way of honoring these men,” said Boswell. “If we don’t, nobody will, and they’ll be forgotten.”

Copyright © 2013 Halifax Media Group

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