Correspondence

What Mean Ye By These Stones?

Following the 1862 battle at Perryville, the angry Unionists who held the Kentucky town declined to bury their slain foes.  When the stench and sight of wild hogs gorging themselves on corpses finally proved unbearable, the task of laying the dead to rest fell upon one Henry P. Bottom, the secessionist upon whose once-prosperous farm the clash had taken place.  With the help of neighbors Bottom and his slaves combed the land, collecting hundreds of bodies that were eventually placed in a mass grave on the farm’s northern end.  Thanks to Federal confiscation of thousands of dollars’ worth of goods, the destruction of his barn during the fighting, and the nightmarish experience of gathering mangled remains, Bottom would live out his days a scarred man.  He had to buy food for the first time in his life, and would never restore his farm to self-sufficiency.

Forty years later, a memorial spearheaded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy was set up over the mass grave Bottom and his people had built.  Locals, survivors from Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi, and even Union veterans from the 10th Ohio Regiment assembled to see unveiled the figure of a Confederate infantryman standing attentively with his rifle atop a squared column, upon which was inscribed verse by Confederate Kentuckian Theodore O’Hara.

The muffled drum’s sad roll...

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