Monday, September 28, 2009

62 dead are forgotten no longer

When Dale Mitchell was growing up in Trion, Ga., one of his teachers told him Chattooga County had not seen any significant fighting during the Civil War.

“That was false,” said Mitchell.

As a kid, he knew the town’s old cemetery contained graves of fallen Union and Confederate soldiers.

But there was no marker, and most local folks knew nothing of any fighting in the area.

Fortunately, historian Agnew Myers dug up history of the Civil War in Chattooga County, detailing several military encounters and a little known skirmish known as the First Battle of Trion Factory.

Union cavalry clashed with Confederate forces on Sept. 15, 1863, four days before the more famous Battle of Chickamauga, said Mitchell, commander of the Chattooga County Camp No. 507 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The 55 Union and 7 Confederate dead were buried on the side of the road, not far from the factory (cotton mill).

They then slipped into oblivion, a footnote in the Chickamauga campaign.

That began to change two years ago.

Mitchell and the SCV raised $3,000 for a monument at the Trion cemetery.

The 7-foot marker was dedicated on Sept. 12 of this year.

The effort was a joint project of the 507th and the Missionary Ridge Camp 63, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, with donations from the Pvt. John Ingraham Camp 1977, SCV from Chickamauga, the Tillotson Foundation of Menlo, Ga., the Chattooga County Historical Society and the Georgia Civil War Commission.

Mitchell says the SCV had a single mission in remembering the 62 casualties.

“They are all Americans. They should not be forgotten.”

More photos of the dedication

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