September 08, 2008

Why I love Lynchburg - another reason

Stone gate entrance to the Confederate graveyard

I knew I loved Lynchburg. And I have been compiling many reasons why I love Lynchburg. But this past Saturday I saw something that gave me a clue why I may love Lynchburg so much: Lynchburg is a true Southern town. Or perhaps that should be Lynchburg is a true Southron town, using British orthography as the CSA did.

This past Saturday we braved the vestiges of Tropical Storm Hanna and drove to the Lynchburg Market. While we were there the rains began to diminish and we decided to head to the Lynchburg Old City Cemetery. We had visited the cemetery when we first moved here but did not have our cameras with us. So we decided to return to the cemetery after the rains stopped.

A few of the many Confederate gravestones.

In the center of this beautiful cemetery there is a cemetery for the Confederate soldiers who died in Lynchburg during the War Between the States. There are more than 2,200 confederate soldiers buried there, which provides an interesting comparison with the number of military personnel who have died in the War in Iraq. This was a very bloody war.

It is a beautiful resting place for these dead soldiers, many of whom do not even have their names inscribed on their grave stones because the town was not able to identify them. It is fascinating to read the journal of the man who buried these soldiers.

But one of the things that gave us a deeper and fuller appreciation of our town was the fact that this cemetery originally held Yankee troops as well. At the end of the war, the people of Lynchburg decided to move the bodies of the Federal soldiers to another location, leaving only the Confederate dead there as a memorial to those who had served the Constitutionally guaranteed cause of the right of the people to govern themselves free from federal interference.

The Federal troops' bodies were treated with respect and reburied in another graveyard outside of the Lynchburg city limits. But the people of Lynchburg obviously wanted to set up a memorial to their own soldiers and the soldiers fighting for the Confederacy from other towns and other states.

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