Missionary Ridge Camp #63
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Memorial Day 2007 Activities
Held Monday Afternoon, May 29, 2007
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 SUVMRC63 Main Page      Meetings    Photos Posted June 8, 2007 
The Miller and Wentworth Graves at the
Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery

Unknown to many in the Chattanooga area, two Union soldiers are buried in the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. Although actual information about them is sketchy at best, they were believed to be prisoners-of-war and were in Confederate care in Chattanooga at the time of their deaths in early 1863. At left, the National Flag stands beside the two markers that are near the Third Street side of the cemetery opposite the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

A provisional cemetery was started near the Tennessee River with Confederate dead from the battles in 1862 and early 1863. Approximately 900 wooden markers identified the graves; however, over time and several floods later, 141 of the markers were lost. After the War, most all of the soldiers were reinterred to the present Cemetery location which is on much higher ground. Because most of the bodies were intermingled and unidentifiable by then, a mass grave was used to bury most of those soldiers, including these two Union dead. Like many of their Confederate brethren, the markers signify that they are buried in the cemetery although the actual location of their remains is unknown. For this reason, they are not buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery which was established for the Union dead from the War.

The cemetery is co-maintained by the City of Chattanooga and the N. B. Forrest Camp #3, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

This Memorial Day, the Missionary Ridge Camp 63 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War took a moment to honor these two Union veterans, Lewis Miller and Edward J. Wentworth. Note that Wentworth's stone is incorrectly labeled "Winbroot." The lone National Flag in this cemetery marks their graves. Many Confederate markers are nearby. as well.

Sergeant Edward J. Wentworth
by Frank Harned, SUVCW Missionary Ridge Camp #63
(A speculative biography based partially on fact)

My name is Sgt. Edward J. Wentworth. I was born in Madison County, New York, to Allen and Ann Wentworth in 1837. I moved with my parents to the small frontier town of Dowagaic, Cooper Township, Michigan. It was a small farming community about 60 miles southwest of Kalamazoo. There, my dad and I farmed the rich black earth of Michigan. I really grew to love the land. All was peaceful and good until Uncle Abe called for volunteers.

Lt. Thompson of the 19th Michigan came to our town recruiting all young men, and he was paying a twenty-five dollar advance bounty. That was more money than dad and I made in the last three years! So, I signed on the dotted line. Off we marched from Cooper Township to the town of Kalamazoo, where I was sworn into the army by Captain Meyers on the 5th day of September, 1862. Since I was older and could read and write, I was made Sgt. of Company F in the 19th Michigan Infantry. We drilled and bacame proficient in marching and drilling. After we received our equipment we made for the western front.

Our problems started on the morning of March 4th, 1862, when we left Franklin, TN, with 488 men of the 19th, about 2200 more men in four other infantry regiments, 600 Cavalry, some artillery pieces and 80 supply wagons. About four or five miles out of Franklin, we ran into a small party of Confederates about 2,000 strong. They were driven back with little problems.

We made camp on the right flank of the Division and just to the rear of the Artillery. It was a peaceful night. The next morning, March 5th, we moved out at 8 a.m. and traveled about five miles. At 10 o'clock we met the enemy in full strength. It was a thunderin' good fight. The ground at Thompson's Station shook and changed hands several times, and we fought well until we began running out of ammunition.

We started taking heavy canister fire, and most of our regiment broke and ran for the rear. A few of us stayed at our post trying to save the day. In a blinking of the eye I was wounded too badly to reach our lines and was captured by Van Dorn's men. I was marched to the rear of the Confederate lines with the rest of the prisoners taken that day. I was too proud to ask for help from the Rebel guards and walked until loss of blood caused me to pass out. The next thing I knew, I was bandaged and on a train heading for Richmond, VA, by way of Chattanooga, TN.

I was getting worse on the train and they off loaded me in Chattanooga and sent me to Academy Hospital on a spur of Cameron Hill. They treated my wounds and me very well, but my wounds were too grave for recovery. The Rebs even discharged me and paroled me on the 22nd of March so that I could travel to our lines. But being too weak, I lost the final battle with Life on the 4th day of April in 1863. My biggest regret is that I never got to see my mother or father again in this life. And since I was their only child and they were advanced in age, there was no family heir to our good land.

These Confederates down here in Chattanooga had taken kindly to me while I was in the Hospital, and they buried me here in their own cemetery. Y'know, you won't find any Rebels in the Federal Cemetery. I consider it kind of an honor, really.

Appropriate words are read and a prayer lifted in both memory and honor Miller and Wentworth. The Camp takes pleasure in fulfilling General John Logan's General Order #11 (establishing Memorial Day) dated May 5, 1868 that, in part, reads: "Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic."
A farewell salute is delivered and a moment of reflection is taken before the Camp leaves for the Chattanooga National Cemetery and the 2007 Torchlight Tour.