Union Grave Markers Dedication
West Hill Cemetery, Dalton, Georgia
During the Confederate Memorial Day Service
Held Saturday Afternoon, April 21, 2007
Camp Badge
 SUVMRC63 Main Page      Meetings    Photos Posted April 22, 2007 

* Confederate Memorial Day - Decoration Day *

Upon invitation from the Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Camp #671, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Pvt. Drewry R. Smith Chapter No. 2522, United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Civil War Round Table of Dalton, our Camp was invited to participate in the Confederate Memorial Day (actually on April 26 in Georgia) ceremonies at the West Hill Cemetery in Dalton, Georgia on Saturday afternoon, April 21, 2007. Several members of the Camp participated in both the salute to Confederate veterans as well as the salute to the four unknown Union soldiers also buried in this cemetery.

The ceremony included pledges to the National and Georgia Flags, a salute to the Confederate Flag, various speakers, songs, the awarding of Crosses of Military Service, and the bestowal of SCV War Service Medals, as well as the Invocation and Benediction.

Dalton Civil War Round Table Member, Mr. Marvin Sowder, was instrumental in working with the Veterans Administration to obtain the four Union markers.

A nice crowd of nearly fifty attended the event. The Camp's Color Guard can be seen just to the left of the big tree in the photo below.

The Camp joined with Confederate reenactors of Company F, 35 Tennessee and Company B, 36th Georgia to fire a three volley salute to the Confederate dead. Afterwards, the combined unit marched past rows of Confederate dead to the Silent Sentinel Statue beside which the four Union soldiers' markers are located.

Poem taken from page 270, Photographic History of the Civil War
Miller, Vol. 9, Poetry and Eloquence

A nice breeze captures the Colors as the honor guard is addressed by Captain Duane Hamby of the 35th Tennessee. And, our own Wes Davis reads the following poem, "The Blue and the Gray," honoring all fallen soldiers of the War.

by Francis Miles Finch

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.

Those in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the laurel the Blue,
Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So, with an equal splendor,
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On the forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmer falleth
The cooling drip of the rain;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting for the judgment-day;
Wet with the rain, the Blue,
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting for judgment-day,
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray.

No more shall the war cry sever,
Or winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting for judgment-day;
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.

Since the names, dates and units of these Union dead are unknown, all that can be placed on the stones are the words "Unknown Soldier." Marvin Sowder speculates that they may have been four soldiers who died of smallpox while in a Dalton hospital. And, it is also possible they may have died while on garrison duty in 1864 or 1865. Like many of their Confederate breathren in this cemetery, they are now "known only to God."

These Union dead receive their three-volley salute - four soldiers among the many so honored this day.

After the ceremony, the four hundred plus Confederate flags and the four U. S. flags
were gathered up and the cemetery returned to its peaceful state once again.