Laying to Rest an Unknown
Confederate States of America Soldier
July 28, 2007
It was an honor to attend a funeral procession for a
Confederate sailor whose remains were recovered from a shipwreck at the
bottom of the English Channel. The service started at 10 a.m.
today at the corner of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.
The procession formed at the site of the statue of Adm. Raphael
Semmes, who was the commanding officer of the Confederate sea raider
CSS Alabama and move west on Government to Ann Street, then turn
south on Ann to Magnolia Cemetery where the sailor will be buried. A
graveside service will be held at noon in the Confederate Rest section
of the cemetery, where about 1,100 Confederate veterans are buried.
Some 20 Civil War-era cannons will be fired in salute as the procession
approaches the cemetery, according to A.J. Dupree, a spokesman for the
Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization that is holding its 112th
annual reunion in Mobile this week.
The unidentified sailor's skeletal remains were discovered several
years ago, encrusted on the underside of a cannon that was raised from
the wreck of the CSS Alabama in some 200 feet of water. The Confederate
warship was sunk in the channel off the coast of France on June 19,
1864, by the Union warship USS Kearsarge. More than 400 artifacts have
been recovered from the site by American and French divers.
The CSS Alabama gained a reputation for preying on Union merchant ships
around the world during the Civil War. It had a crew of about 120
members, and most were rescued by boaters in the area, but about a
dozen crew members drowned or were never heard from again, said Robert
Edington, a Mobile attorney who is president of the CSS Alabama
Association. Semmes was plucked from the channel by the British yacht
Deerhound and practiced law in Mobile after the war.
The sailor's remains will be in a hand-made wooden coffin pulled by a
horse drawn caisson, accompanied by members of the SCV in Confederate
uniforms, said Dupree. There will also be participants in civilian
Civil War period attire.
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