Holiday Remembers Fallen Confederate Soldiers

Visitors seemed surprised to find the courthouse closed on Monday. A sign on the door made mention of the holiday, but the greater reason could be found in the nearby parking lot.

That's where a memorial to confederate soldiers encourages remembrance.

"In addition to the confederate veterans and widows that we have here," said Beauvoir curator, Richard Flowers, as he walked through the confederate cemetery.

The cemetery at Beauvoir is an everlasting tribute to confederate soldiers and their widows. Rows of simple stones remember those who gave their all. And that is the heart of this holiday.

"This is not a flag issue. This is not a political issue. This is simply honoring those ancestors that fought for their homes. We have veterans from Texas, from Louisiana, from Georgia, Alabama, Missouri," said Flowers.

There are 780 graves now a part of the land, which was once a vineyard. Its is now sacred ground steeped in history.

A memorial to Marion Francis Baxter traces his service from battle to battle to eventual surrender.

"We have Jefferson Davis' father's grave," said Flowers.

While Jefferson Davis is buried at Richmond, Virginia, Samuel Emory Davis is buried at Beauvoir. His remains were transferred there in 1941, after the river began to breach his grave site near Vicksburg.

There is no name attached to the most prominent stone: the tomb of the "unknown confederate soldier." The chairman of Beauvoir's board discovered the soldier's remains during a relic search south of Vicksburg in 1980.

"He came across the remains of this confederate soldier that was still in the remnants of his uniform and his accouterments and his musket there where he fell, where he was shot," said Flowers.

The unknown, and the hundreds more with names on stones, are remembered this holiday, and have a perpetual memorial at Beauvoir.

Both Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day trace their roots to Columbus, Mississippi. Back in 1866, the ladies of that town gathered to decorate the graves of confederate and union soldiers.