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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Confederate Soldiers Rest

Confederate Soldiers Rest is located in the Fowler section of Historic Elmwood Cemetery. Over 1000 Confederate soldiers and veterans are buried here. An article in the Memphis Daily Appeal on 27 June 1861 stated that this plot was dedicated to the Southern Mothers' Society. A second article dated 25 September 1861 stated "this company, at the commencement of the war, very liberally donated and set apart a lot of ground for the purpose of burying, free of charge, all soldiers who may die honorably in defense of our liberties. In the center of the lot is a circle of twelve feet in diameter, for the erection of a monument, which our patriotic citizens will no doubt raise to the memory of the brave soldiers who have fallen in defense of our country." The first soldier buried in Confederate Rest was William Thomas Gallagher in Lot 159, Fowler Section, Grave 20 on 17 June 1861 barely a month after the war began. The last burial was of Confederate veteran John Frank Gunter on 01 April 1940. In 1886 the Confederate Historical Association collected funds and 945 numbered headstones were placed at the head of each grave. (Continued on other side) While going through old cemetery records years later a small notebook was discovered that contained the names and matching headstone numbers of these 945. It was now possible to identify the exact spot where a specific soldier or veteran was buried as well as the date of his burial and Confederate unit. CONFEDERATE MONUMENT The monument in Confederate Soldiers Rest was unveiled on 05 June 1878. A crowd of almost 5000 people was in attendance at the dedication. Plans for the monument were originally begun by the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association, later known as the Confederate Historical Association. The $5000 cost of the monument was raised by a committee chaired by N.B. Forrest. On the front monument are the words "Confederate Dead". On the back of the monument is the following inscription: "Illis Victoriam Non Immortatitatem Fata Negaverunt" which translates: "The Fates Which Refused Them Victory Did Not Deny Them Immortality".