Confederate Memorial Day to shine light on local soldiers

by W. Winston Skinner

The Confederate Section at Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery has long drawn history buffs, photographers and other visitors.

The neat rows of gleaming white markers recall Newnan’s role as a hospital town during the Civil War. Among the 268 men buried there are soldiers from each state in the Confederacy.

The area is used annually for Confederate Memorial Day programs – and sometimes for other ceremonies relating to that period of history. At this year’s Confederate Memorial Day service Saturday, local historian and genealogist Ronny North will remind attendees that many other Confederate soldiers are buried at Oak Hill.

The program sponsored by Sharpsburg Sharpshooters Camp 1729 and Coweta Guards Camp 715, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Confederate Section at Oak Hill.

“There are 170 more who are not in the Confederate section,” said North, whose own ancestors were among Coweta’s earliest settlers.

While the Confederate section was filled with bodies of men who died in local hospitals – and who often came from far away, Coweta had her own sons fighting for the Confederacy. Many of those men returned home, where they blended into professions, farming or commerce. When they died, they were buried in family lots scattered across the historic downtown cemetery.

North said he plans to offer “a walking tour without walking” – sharing the stories of some of those Cowetans. Many became physicians or attorneys, and there were “a lot of educators,” he said.

North said he also was struck by how many of the Cowetans who fought for the Southern cause were grandsons of men who fought as patriots in the American Revolution.

The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on March 27 kicked off a statewide radio campaign for 2014 featuring 60 second radio commercials. Each of the commercials highlights a different event or prominent person from the Civil War in 1864. The ad campaign is part of the SCV’s ongoing sesquicentennial commemoration of the war.

The spots will be running on radio stations across Georgia.

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