Confederate soldier finally gets funeral

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More than 150 years after his death, Pvt. Preston C. Wall finally got a proper funeral.

Wall, a Confederate soldier from in Company C of the Missouri Infantry, died June 29, 1863 during the Siege of Vicksburg. He was 23, but was already a seasoned combat veteran.

“It’s just nice to have a family member that finally has a marker and some way of memorializing him. We’re celebrating the life Preston had,” said John Wall of Washington, a descendant of one of Preston Wall’s brothers.

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Preston Wall’s cause of death has been lost to history, as has his true final resting place.

“It is said he died in a hospital here,” said Betsy Stuerke, an Illinois resident who is also a descendant of one of Preston Wall’s brother.

Preston Wall was never married and left behind no descendants. John C. Pemberton Camp of Sons of Confederate Veterans recently put up a stone in Cedar Hill Cemetery in his honor and formally unveiled the white granite stone Tuesday during the private ceremony with the family.

“We cherish his service and life. My only regret today is my dad couldn’t be here. This would have meant everything in the world to him,” Stuerke said.

Preston Walls fought in Missouri and at Pea Ridge, Ark., before coming to Mississippi. Here he fought at Iuka, Port Gibson, Champion Hill, Big Black River and Vicksburg before his death toward the end of the 47-day siege.

“I had no idea he fought in that many battles at 23 years old,” Kathy Wynn, a member of the Wall family from Kansas.

Missouri sent both Union and Confederate troops to Vicksburg, highlighting the political rift in the border state.

“Missouri was a hotbed of feelings between Confederate and Union sympathizers,” Stuerke said. “Where we lived in central Missouri there was strong feelings on both sides.”

More than 5,000 Confederate soldiers are buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, though most were buried in mass graves. There were nearly 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers listed as missing dead or wounded during the Siege of Vicksburg.