J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Oxford Memorial

Last Sunday, May 1, a memorial service was held on the campus of Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) in Oxford to honor the University Grays. This company, part of the 11th Mississippi infantry regiment, enlisted in the Civil War in 1861, exactly 150 years ago. Nearly every man enrolled in college that year enlisted (135). Only four reported for classes, so the school was temporarily closed.

Over the course of the War Between the States, the company went through nearly every major battle. The most famous was at Gettysburg, where the University Grays participated in Pickett’s Charge. Sadly, 100% of the company became casualties.

On campus is the cemetery where soldiers who fought at Shiloh are buried. They were sent from the battlefield to campus buildings, which were used as hospitals. Each grave had a wooden marker, but one day, a crew was hired to mow. To minimize their work, they moved all the markers, and when it came time to replace them, the crew had no idea which marker belonged where. Needless to say, the cemetery is now filled with unmarked graves. One lone monument stands in the middle with a list of names. However, the list is woefully short. A computer scan of the area determined that there are 430 graves in the cemetery.

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