Re-interment of Civil War Soldiers
Contact: Ashley Ball
Shiloh National Military Park Superintendent Woody Harrell today announced a special re-interment ceremony to be held at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center on National Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19, 2007. The remains of two United States soldiers will be reburied a short distance from the site of Battery Robinett, in the same shallow graves where they were discovered in 1999 by National Park Service archeologists conducting an archeological investigation prior to construction of the interpretive center. Partial evidence of these long lost graves had recently come to light on an 1863 map of Corinth drawn by Private Charles H. Budd, who prepared the map while stationed in Corinth with the 2nd Iowa Infantry during the Union occupation. Budd’s map indicated possible graves located a few paces north and west of the still prominent grave of Confederate Colonel William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas Infantry, who was killed in action on the morning of the October 4, 1862, during the climatic events of the Battle of Corinth, and who was buried on the battlefield immediately north of the ditch fronting the Robinett bastion. Modern Ground Penetrating Radar technology indicated anomalies at that location, which later proved to battlefield burials.
Exactly when the two Federal soldiers were originally buried at the site is unknown, as is their individual identities. However, through forensic investigation, some characteristic details about the two men have emerged. One of the soldiers was determined to be a Caucasian in his late teens, while the other individual, who died in his mid to late twenties, is believed to be of African-American descent. The presence of military buttons and accouterments confirmed their status as United States soldiers. Although discovery of a battlefield burial of an African-American Civil War soldier is uncommon, archeologists point out it is not completely surprising, considering one full infantry regiment and an additional infantry battalion of United States Colored Troops (USCT) were recruited and organized in Corinth, serving in the Federal garrison occupying the city from May 1863 to January 1864. After consultation with the local Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the National Park Service determined the two Union soldiers should be returned to their original burial locations, where their association with the compelling Civil War story at Corinth could be interpreted on site.
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., the re-interment ceremony will include a contemporary United States Army Color Guard, as well as a period Honor Guard composed of Union and Confederate re-enactors. Father Timothy Jones of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Corinth, Mississippi, will officiate at the service, using material from an 1861 Book of Common Prayer. As part of a nationwide effort to recognize the military service of all armed forces personnel buried in National Cemeteries throughout America and the world, the ceremony will conclude with the playing of “Echo Taps” by a succession of buglers positioned between historic Battery Robinett and the Corinth National Cemetery,
The public is invited to participate in honoring these two unknown United States soldiers by attending the ceremony marking their return to Battery Robinett. For more information about this event, contact the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center at 662-287-9273. The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, located at 501 West Linden Street, Corinth, Mississippi, is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.