Slain Civil War soldiers memorialized in ceremony
CALWOOD - Soldiers killed in the Battle of Moore's Mill received recognition Sunday more than a hundred years after their death.
The Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans unveiled a granite memorial to honor the 16 Union and eight Confederate soldiers who died in the battle 152 years ago. The memorial is located near State Road Z in Callaway County.
On July 28, 1862, Colonel Joseph Porter led 400 Confederate soldiers in an ambush against 700 Union troops, led by Colonel Odon Guitar. The Union won the battle, fought in present day Callaway County, because of its firepower against the Confederates.
Guitar ordered his troops to put all of the dead in an unmarked, hastily-made mass grave after the battle. These soldiers laid unrecognized until Noel Crowson and the Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans stepped in. Crowson spearheaded the effort to build the memorial. He said wanted people in attendance to walk away with respect for both sides of the conflict.
"These men never had a funeral," Crowson said. "The Civil War has passed, the men on both sides have gave their all for their country, and both sides deserve to respect the other."
The participants recognized the soldiers with full military honors. This included both Union and Confederate reenactors in full ceremonial dress, a 21 gun salute, a cannon fire, "Taps" played on the bugle and "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
The Fulton-based Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans raised $5,000 in support of the monument. That money also helped fund high-tech sonar scanning of the site for the remains of the soldiers.
The building that now houses the Wright Brothers general store stood in the area during the fighting in 1865. Crowson said a firsthand account of the battle revealed the dead had been buried near the store. Crowson said in 1958, the probate judge in Callaway County went and interviewed elderly residents to record their accounts of what happened. The judge identified the grave site, but never marked it. Crowson verified this with other records, and used sonar technology to confirm the location of the grave site.