Known Unknowns

Along the Natchez Trace, in northern Mississippi, stones mark the graves of thirteen Civil War Confederate soldiers. Their names are unknown. Even when they died is not clear. They could have been wounded at the nearby battle of Shiloh in 1862. They could have died while serving under General Nathan Forest, when he passed by here in 1864. Or they could have been guarding the Tupelo headquarters of J.B. Hood’s Army of the Tennessee at the end of the war. Their names might have been recorded on the original markers, but they have long been lost. In 1940 a Mississippi senator had headstones placed, but they were soon stolen. The park service placed the current replacement stones. The markers face the Trace, so that travelers might read and remember. People have decorated the graves with little Confederate flags and plastic flowers. All of the stones have pennies placed on top of them. One of them had a Panda Express fortune on it that read, “You are going to have a very comfortable life.”