While visiting Chattanooga last weekend my cousin and stumbled upon a cemetery that I had never heard of before.
It is located at 7714 Lee Highway next to McKay's Books, which was our intended destination. As we flew down the street my cousin saw the Confederate Cemetery first and I was just as thrilled as she was to explore it. This was our first time seeing a cemetery like this.
After loading the car with at least 50 books and DVD's we headed back down the street. We turned onto the narrow driveway and hoped that no one else was coming back down.
There are 155 unknown soldiers who are buried in this small graveyard. Can you imagine that many men who have not been returned to their families? Relatives not knowing where their husband, son, or nephew is buried. This was disturbing to me.
Once inside there was only a few markers. Initially the soldiers had wooden markers with name, rank, and division but they decayed over time. There were no records of the men who were buried there. The cemetery is surrounded by a stone fence with a large gate in the front.
From what I understand the soldiers fought in the Battle of Perryville and were brought back to Chattanooga to recover.
All of the burials took place between July-December of 1862. Below is an excerpt from Thunder Creek Harley Davidson web site that gives a brief synopsis of the cemetery.
General Braxton Bragg succeeded General Beauregard as commander of the Army of Mississippi shortly after the Battle of Shiloh and on July 21, 1862 ordered 27,816 men to Chattanooga, Tennessee in preparation for his famed Kentucky campaign. These men had been in camps in northern Mississippi where poor water, shallow wells, mosquitoes and dysentery had made many of them sick. The number of troops made it necessary for most of them to be located outside of town.
The men buried at Silverdale are from General Withers’ division hospital. His division consisted of men from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The hospital was housed in 100 tents. It remained at Tyner’s station and in control of Withers’ division until after it was moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in December due to the weather becoming too cold for the men to remain in tents.
If you like history, you will find this off the beaten path cemetery a fascinating place. I would like to go back again to sit down and listen for the voices of the men lying beneath my feet. Maybe they have something to say if only someone would listen.