Confederate Memorial Service held at Soldiers’ Rest

Published 1:56 pm Monday, April 27, 2015

After a pledge to the United States flag and salutes to the Mississippi and Confederate flags, the Confederate Memorial Service was underway in the Soldiers’ Rest section of Cedar Hill Cemetery.

The program was held Sunday for the second year in a row said Edward Campbell, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans John C. Pemberton Camp 1354.

“We’re the Sons of Confederate Veterans,” he said. “We’re descendants of soldiers who fought in the Confederate Army, and we’re a genealogical organization.”

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Campbell said the women’s organization is the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who partnered with them for the service.

“We do research, and we believe the war was not fought over slavery and the secession was not treason,” he said. “We believe that and have the documentation to back that up, so we’re doing this to honor these Confederate soldiers who fought and died for a cause they believed in, many of whom never even owned slaves.”

The Constitution was written by the founding fathers to protect the states from intrusion from the federal government, Campbell said.

“They were fighting for states rights,” he said. “The 13 colonies seceded from Great Britain in 1776 which was a complete secession, and we were doing no more than what they did in 1776.”

Campbell said members of their camp researched soldiers who were buried at Soldiers’ Rest.

“Vicksburg was a hospital town,” he said. “We researched soldiers and did a small three-minute talk on one from every state of the Confederacy, including Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, which were border states.”

Campbell said the organization does historic preservation, cleans up cemeteries and puts on a historical program every month.

Fisher Funeral Home is one of the best sources of information about the history of the Confederate soldiers, said Mary Landin, president of Vicksburg Chapter 77 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“The book they published covering the burials from around 1839 to 1865 lists hundreds of Confederate soldiers that they buried here,” she said. “They buried them in rows, and a lot of them they didn’t know who they were. These guys out here could be any one of them with a different name on the stone because there was no way to know.”

Landin said at Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson there are actually mass graves under the neat rows of tombstones.

“It’s amazing the history that will get lost when we all die,” she said.

Campbell agreed and added many people from the younger generations are not interested in the history.

Joel Bailey gave a presentation on Private B.D. Wamack, 3rd Mississippi Regiment.

“Private B.D. Wamack or Womack mustered into service Aug. 31, 1861 in Benton, Mississippi,” he said. “Perhaps he was hoping to muster into the Yazoo Rebels under Captain Powell; however, he found the name had been changed to the John M. Sharpes and S.M. Dyer had been elected captain of the company.”

Bailey, who also delivered a poem he wrote, said his soldier’s name was spelled Wamack mostly in his service records, but was spelled Womack on the grave marker supplied by his friends.

Bailey read a letter from Lt. McCormack who wrote on Aug. 14, 1962, “Disease is playing conspicuously amongst us. Never since we sacrificed the endearments of home and formed a little band to go forth and strike for liberty, have we felt its devastating influence more deeply, than when we saw it seize the manly person of our friend B.D. Womack, and forced him to relinquish his earthly career. Benett (Wamack) was a favorite with us and we greatly lament his loss.”

Bailey said something unique about Wamack was that he had two gravestones, and since one was placed by his friends, he believes that could be Wamack’s final resting place.