Friday, October 07, 2005

Talking Spirits -- Part 3: Confederate Rest & Soldiers Lot

Confederate Rest

The last stop on this year's "Talking Spirits" tour was Confederate Rest where Ben Conklin portrayed a Confederate POW. He was by far the best as he did not merely play a southern soldier, he was that soldier.

Confederate Rest is the northernmost Confederate cemetery in the United States, with soldiers from Tennesee, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi buried here. The troops were, for the most part, from the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment and the 55th Tennessee. They were captured in the taking of Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River, just south of Cairo, Illinois on April 7, 1862 after a 23-day siege. Most of the 5,000 prisoners were sent to St. Louis, but more than 1,000 ended up at Camp Randall in Madison.

The prisoners, some as young as 17, arrived in rags, many already sick from disease and malnutrition. The citizens of Madison visited daily, bringing with them warm clothes, blankets, food and medicine. Though most of the prisoners returned to their homes in the south after the war, many stayed in Madison.

There are 140 Confederate troops buried here, all but one of whom died of disease or infection.

Corp. G.W. Spears was the only Confederate POW who was shot while at Camp Randall, apparently in the midst of some sort of dispute. For a list of Confederate troops buried at Forest Hill, click here and check this website for more about this tiny graveyard.

Soldiers Lot

Like Confederate rest, Soldiers Lot was created during the Civil War, but it is Union troops who are buried in this small graveyard within the larger cemetery.

The two burial sections are separated by the Mausoleum, one side of which can be seen in the background of the second picture.

To read Channel 27's report on the tour mentioned earlier this week, click here.


Kate said...

This was very interesting Heather. I can just picture it. It reminds me of my visit to Gettysburg the large cemetary. Such somber and sacred places.

Jana said...

Wow Heather! What great descriptives and photos. I think it's awesome that all that history is preserved and passed on. What a wonderful experience that must be. :)