Franklin’s Battlefield Preservation Commission Dedicates Historical Marker to Unknown Soldier

Ceremony to take place Tuesday, April 12 at 1:00 p.m. at Rest Haven Cemetery

Franklin— More than 70 people across the country donated to place an historical marker at the tomb of Franklin’s Unknown Soldier at Rest Haven Cemetery.  The Franklin Battlefield Preservation Commission chose to purchase the informative marker so visitors could learn about the discovery of the soldier’s remains in May 2009; the funeral, attended by thousands of people from near and far; and the historic burial.  The marker will be unveiled on Tuesday, April 12, at 1:00 p.m. at Rest Haven Cemetery.  The ceremony will feature introductions from Commission Chair Pam Lewis, a short presentation on the history of the Unknown Soldier by Thomas Flagel, and a discussion of the tomb by Robin Hood and the unveiling.

“Over 600,000 Americans lost their lives in this conflict, and of that number, over half were buried in unmarked graves, if at all. Their families never knew what became of them, all they knew is that they never came home.” said Margie Thessin, Vice Chair of Franklin Battlefield Preservation Commission.  “Loved ones would go to their own graves always wondering what happened to their son, father or brother. The grave and the marker will help people today, for whom that would be incomprehensible, to understand the level of loss suffered during that time.”

The following is the wording on the marker.

Unknown Civil War Soldier

In 2009, a construction project along Columbia Pike 2.5 miles south of here unearthed human bone fragments, in an area that was part of the Franklin battlefield. Forensic anthropologists determined that these were the remains of a Civil War soldier. Also found among the remains were six Union tunic buttons and a Minié ball, although it was impossible to verify conclusively if the soldier was Union or Confederate. Accordingly, he was designated an Unknown Civil War Soldier, an American who had died for his country.
He is buried here at the center of Rest Haven Cemetery.

On Oct. 10, 2009, the community of Franklin honored this Unknown Civil War Soldier with a periodmilitary funeral at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. After the service, a horse-drawn caisson and honor guard carried the coffin here. Several thousand spectators and national media were in attendance, as scores of reenactors conducted a burial, and upon the grave they poured soil from the 18 states represented at theBattle of Franklin. Also present were two actual sons and a daughter of Civil War veterans.

Marking the grave are original column sections from the Tennessee State Capitol (1856), which now stand in remembrance of all unknown soldiers of the American Civil War. May these fallen soldiers rest in peace.Franklin Battlefield Commission 2010


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