J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Confederate Graves Discovered


Last week, archaeologist Bill Meacham discovered the graves of nearly 40 Confederate soldiers in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Mr. Meacham has been searching for these graves for almost 16 years, and has spent thousands of dollars trying to locate them.

During the Civil War, Hopkinsville had an encampment of around 2,000 soldiers primarily from Tennessee and Kentucky. Several hundred died of disease, as was the case with most encampments during the war. However, no one knew where these men were buried.

Historian William Turner said that an old ledger was discovered in a roll top desk drawer at a local bank in 1989. “That was a tremendous find, except you’ve got to know where to start,” said Turner.

After several attempts, no graves were discovered. That is, until recently.

“We found totally about 40, but in the book, even row one has 21 graves in it, and we’ve only got 3 recorded. Row 2 has 27 or 28 and we got 11,” said Meacham.

During the dig, one metal coffin with a nameplate was discovered.

“It says William H Pate, found him in the census. He was 16-years-old when he died. He was from the 3rd regiment, Tippah County Mississippi,” said Meacham.

An old gunpowder storage building was also discovered. The remains will be reburied and given a special marker. And the area within the cemetery will be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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13 thoughts on “Confederate Graves Discovered

  1. I wasn’t sure where to put this, so I’ll just post it here.

    One of the scariest things I’ve had happen to me actually involved my younger son. When he was 2 or 3, he suddenly developed a fear of having our deck door open after dark. We would often leave the glass door open in the summertime to let the breeze come in in the evenings.
    This never bothered him before, but one night, he just started screaming and crying whenever we had the door open after sunset. He’d come over and slam in shut. If asked why he didn’t want the door open, he’d just say, “Close door.”
    We’d often try to outsmart him, letting him shut the door, and then opening it again when he went to another room or became occupied with something else, but he always seemed to sense when that door was open.
    It kind of gave me the creeps at the time, even though he wouldn’t say what it was that scared him. I finally just wrote it off as being one of those odd stages that kids go through.
    Fast forward about 6 years. One day, we were coming home from running errands, and out of the blue, my son says, “Mom, do you remember when I was afraid of having the deck door open?”
    I said I did and asked if he remembered why that bothered him.
    He was quiet for a minute, and then responded that he recalls looking out the open door one night and seeing on the deck something that looked like a dog standing on two legs, but it had red, glowing eyes. He didn’t want that thing looking at him, so he’d shut the door.
    That really gave me the creeps, because there have been many times I’d feel uneasy being out on the deck at night. Now I wonder if there’s something there that I can’t see…

  2. My great-great-great grandfather (Co. E, 23rd Miss. Inf.) from Tippah County, Miss. is in there somewhere. He’d been lost among the unmarked graves since the remains were moved when a memorial was installed. Now my family is closer to actually finding him!

  3. William H. Pate was from Tippah County, Mississippi, however, the article has his unit wrong – he was in Company G, “Tippah Rifle Company”, 23rd Mississippi Infantry. He died of measles at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, October 30, 1861. Pate joined the army on September 19, 1861, so he was only in the military for just over a month before he died.

  4. We moved to North East Pennsylvania to a small mining town when my husband got a job promotion. The house we had bought was at least 100 years old and came with a lot of history. I thought it was cool to live in something so sturdy and it was a big house. No one had lived in it for a couple of years and it needed some love and attention but it had such potential.
    We lived here for 2 weeks before weird things started to happen and we always felt like we weren’t alone in the upstairs hallway, which was long and not well lit. Doors would shut when there was nobody near them. There were shadows that would cross the walls. Every night at 3:00 A.M. we were woken up by a baby crying, which I attributed to the neighbors next door. (turned out they had no children)
    My son was 13 at the time and drove me crazy with leaving his windows open at night. The heating oil was expensive. Every morning I would shut his bedroom window and he swore that he didn’t open it. One day I woke him up for school shut the window, sent him off to school, I knew when he left that window was shut. Later in the day I put away laundry in his room and the window was open once again. I was the only one in the house and I knew it was shut. My husband decided to nail it shut and we still found it open the next day.
    Creeped out I decided I would go to the store. The cashier saw the address on my check and told me her Aunt used to live there. She said there had been a fire and her Aunt and 2 of her children parished in this fire. Terrified to hear the answer I asked if there was a baby. She said yes. I felt a cold chill from my spine to my toes. I was always a believer that there is life after death. I always loved Halloween and haunted houses. But now I knew I lived in one.
    Over the years we have done some renovations which included opening the roof to remove an old chimney. Either my husband let the spirits out or they have decided we are no threat to them. Occasionally I still hear strange noises and see shadows and I still get creeped out when the cat stares at the corner for no reason but I love this old house and it’s inhabitants. It makes for a great story…..Happy Halloween!!

  5. Linda on said:

    These graves were not lost. The local SCV new about these graves and had the names of each soldier. The local SCV set 293 individual military headstones bearing each Confederate soldiers name , rank and state they served, creating a small Arlington site. These veterans are honored each year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day and have been years before Mr Meacham began seeking some kind of glory or recognition.

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