Monday, November 23, 2015

Cemetery secrets: Identities of seven Rebel soldiers revealed?

 In this enlargement of John Reekie's 1865 photograph of Confederate graves in Oakwood Cemetery 
in Richmond, friend of the blog  Dale Nichols discovered the names of  seven soldiers on
 crude, wooden headboards. The full, original image by Reekie is at the bottom of this post.
(Library of Congress collection)
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Well, that didn't take long.

Less than 24 hours after I posted my thoughts on Confederates buried in graves shown in this 1865 John Reekie photograph of Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, a Virginia man offered his own take. Using the same high-resolution image that I used from the Library of Congress web site, Dale Nichols identified the graves of seven soldiers with the aid of a copy of the cemetery burial records,.During a trip from his home in Newport News, Va., to Richmond in July 2011, he made a complete digital copy of the cemetery's 180-plus page record of more than 7,000 soldier burials. Nichols cautions, however, that the cemetery records are "poor at best," so the IDs aren't rock-solid.

According to the eagle-eyed Nichols, the soldiers are: (*)

William H. Ambrose, 35th North Carolina private : A 21-year-old farmer from Onslow County, North Carolina, he enlisted on Sept. 6, 1861. Wounded at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862, Ambrose was transported that day to Richmond, where he died 11 days later.

J.S. Harvey, 1st South Carolina 

J.W. Champion, 14th South Carolina

Boldin or Bowlen M. Ferrell, 35th Georgia private: A musician, he was from Campbell County, Ga., and enlisted on Oct. 31, 1861. He died of disease in a Richmond hospital on July 18, 1862.

E.W. Martin, 19th Mississippi: Possibly Enoch W. Martin, a private in Company I, who enlisted on May 1, 1861.

W. Kelley, 1st Louisiana: Possibly Sergeant William Kelley, who enlisted on May 15, 1861.

N.F. James, 35th Georgia private  

(*) Additional info on soldiers added by me.

Nichols' ancestors served in 12th South Carolina -- they may have battled the 16th Connecticut in 40-acre Cornfield at Antietam -- and 38th Georgia, so he has a huge interest in the Confederacy. He even has a web site and Facebook page dedicated to the 38th Georgia.

"Over 1,500 men served in the 38th Georgia during the war," Nichols wrote me in an e-mail, "and I've spent at least two years alone trying to track down the burial location of each soldier. I probably have the grave sites of about 800 of these men, but hundreds will remain unknowns, their burial places lost to history."

Is another mini-Civil War mystery solved? Let me know what you think.

ENLARGEMENT 1: A blow-up of the left portion of the image at top of this post.
ENLARGEMENT 2: A blow-up of the right portion of the image at the top of this post.
In April 1865, John Reekie shot this image of Rebels buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond.
 (Library of Congress collection)

1 comment:

  1. This is so wonderful! Thank you for this amazing preservation work. May they rest in peace and their family members be able to find and honor them.