Monday, August 17, 2009

Unknown Soldier Recovered from Franklin Battlefield

/PRNewswire/ -- A construction project in the area where the calamitous Battle of Franklin was fought on Nov. 30, 1864, has disturbed the resting place of an unknown soldier who was buried in a shallow grave 145 years ago during the tragic last days of the Civil War in Tennessee.

The City of Franklin's Battlefield Task Force, along with local historians and government officials, led the recovery of the soldier's remains and will direct a funeral ceremony to re-inter his body at the Historic Rest Haven Cemetery in downtown Franklin, where other brave veterans - both Union and Confederate - were laid to rest.

It is not known for which army the unknown soldier fought. A coffin containing his remains will lie in state at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 510 West Main Street in Franklin - the circa 1827 sanctuary which served as barracks for Federal troops during their occupation of the town in 1864 - from 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 until the funeral ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. One Union and one Confederate honor-guard sentry will be posted at the front doors of the church during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. visitation period each day, and prior to the ceremony on Saturday morning.

The soldier will receive full military honors from re-enactors representing brothers-in-arms from both the Union and the Confederacy. On Saturday morning, a Union and a Confederate Chaplain will conduct a brief funeral service in the church. Following the service, the casket will be borne from the church by uniformed pallbearers (Union and Confederate) and placed on a waiting, horse-drawn caisson in front of the church. Accompanied by a color guard, honor guard, and Civil War-era bagpiper, the caisson will move north on Main Street, crossing Fifth Avenue, circling the Square, proceeding north on Third Avenue, and then west on North Margin Street to the Rest Haven Cemetery gates.

As the procession leaves St. Paul's and continues up Main Street, townspeople and visitors are invited to fall in behind the ranks of the marching re-enactors.

After arriving at Rest Haven Cemetery, a brief eulogy will be delivered by the chaplains, and will conclude with period-appropriate military honors including a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps" by a uniformed bugler.

A Monument to The Unknown Soldier who died on the Franklin Battlefield will be unveiled as part of the ceremony. Active participation in the ceremonies at Rest Haven and at St. Paul's will be restricted to uniformed re-enactors only, but the public is invited to view the ceremonies from designated areas.

Any re-enactment unit that wishes to participate is encouraged to contact Robert Huff at (615) 500-8211, or via email at

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