Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rest in peace: Rebel graves finally named

Associated Press
Forsyth - Linda Hallman was touched by the 300 graves in Forsyth Cemetery that bore identical headstones: "Unknown Confederate Soldier."
She spent more than 30 years trying to find the names of the men, and with the help of other researchers has been able to identify about 175 of them. One hundered new markers have been erected at the cemetery, and more are on the way.
Hallman said the graves came to her attention in the early 1960s when she read the historical marker next to them. At the time, she was a member of the marching band at Mary Persons High School in Forsyth, north of Macon.
"We used to practice up there (near the cemetery) because the football team had the field," she recalled. "It always bugged me that so many men had died without anybody knowing their names."
The soldiers came from all over the South and were brought to Forsyth on cattle cars to be treated in crowded hospitals in the summer of 1864. Their graves were dug in a 50 - square - yard plot of red clay in 12 even rows.
Hallman, who graduated from Mary Persons in 1964, joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy and began searching records in Atlanta and elsewhere, hoping to find the names of the soldiers who died while being treated in Forsyth. She also met with other researchers, who led her to more material.
The turning point came a few years ago when a Virginia man who said he was "too advanced in age to do more research" sent her some valuable information.
(Article transcribed from the "Local News" section of The Atlanta Journal - Constitution, Tuesday, May 13, 1997, section C8.)

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