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.