Virginia cemetery for Alabama Civil War dead to be dedicated
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
WASHINGTON -- A newly restored Civil War cemetery in northern Virginia will be formally dedicated next month in a ceremony that is expected to draw descendants of the Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment soldiers who died there.
The small but significant portion of Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park was reborn after decades in private hands, overgrown and surrounded by farmland. Prince William County saved the battlefield area in a deal with a real estate developer, and historic preservationists determined that up to 90 Alabama soldiers died there during a disease outbreak in the late summer of 1861.
An Eagle Scout candidate, guided by park officials, helped clear the cemetery site and make it accessible to the public in a project last December. Since then, park officials have been raising money for a monument and, in the absence of engraved tombstones, using historical documents to try to piece together the names of the fallen soldiers.
So far, 42 of the men have been identified, said Rob Orrison, site manager with the Historic Preservation Division of the Prince William County Department of Public Works.
The Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans donated the stone for the monument. Among those who drove it up to Virginia was a descendant of a soldier buried there, Orrison said. The four-foot rock was added to the site Monday and plaques are coming.
The Sept. 22 ceremony, at 9 a.m. CDT, will be open to the public and include remarks from park officials and a historian, music, a color guard, and a gun salute by a Virginia-based re-enactment group.
Orrison said the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans collected dirt from around each of the courthouses in the counties that were home to members of the 10th Alabama Regiment.
"I have two buckets of dirt in my office right now, and they're bringing the rest up in September," Orrison said. "They're going to spread some Alabama soil on the cemetery."
The Eagle Scout candidate who organized two days of site-clearing, fence-raising and bridge-building, Dane Smith of Nokesville, also will participate in the ceremony, as will a second Eagle Scout candidate who will be laying the patio around the monument with flagstone brought from Alabama.
The 133-acre Bristoe Station park opened in 2007, marking the Battle of Kettle Run in 1862 and the Battle of Bristoe Station in 1863. It is about an hour's drive west of Washington, D.C., in Bristow, Va., near the Manassas National Battlefield Park.
The 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment included companies from Jefferson, Shelby, Calhoun, Talladega, St. Clair, Calhoun, DeKalb and Talladega counties, according to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.