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Here lay unknown Confederate soldiers who died during the battles of Beechgrove - Hoover Gap engagements, June 24-26, 1863. These engagements were a part of the larger Tullahoma Campaign fought between Union General William Rosecrans and Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Three years after the conflicts the bodies of soldiers who had fallen in isolated areas during the engagements were exhumed and reburied in this old pioneer cemetery. In 1954 The State of Tennessee restored the cemetery and erected a monument to General Nathan Bedford Forrest's surrender to the Union.

  • View of the grave markers at the cemetery. The monument can be seen in the distance. (Photo by Brandon Fletcher)
  • A close up of the General Forrest's Farewell Order Memorial. (Photo by Karl Stelly)
In January of 1863, Union General William Rosecrans would hold Murfreesboro following the Battle of Stones River. He would remain in this area for five and a half months before beginning what would come to be called the Tullahoma Campaign. During this time General Braxton Bragg , , who had been ousted from Murfreesboro by Rosecrans, continued in his defense of Northern advancement by forming a fortified line south of the town along the Duck River.

From May through July of this same year another well-known battle of the Civil War, The Siege of Vicksburg was taking place under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant. Fearing that Bragg might send reinforcements to break the siege, Union leaders urged an attack by Rosecrans to keep Bragg occupied. So on June 24th Rosecrans sent his troops to break the Confederate line and after two days of hard fighting Bragg was forced to pull his forces and fall back to Tullahoma.

This cemetery also contains a monument commemorating the unknown soldiers who died in this skirmish as well as one of the most controversial figures of the entire Civil War. On one end of the cemetery, there stands General Forrest's Farewell Order Memorial which is inscribed with some of the words from his address to his troops following his surrender. Forrest and his men were the last Confederate soldiers east of the Mississippi River to lay down their arms. Forrest himself has been a polarizing figure of the Civil War not only for what he did during the war but as well as the legacy he created in the years after. His war crimes included the execution of surrendered African-American Union soldiers at Fort Pillow in Memphis, TN. His lasting legacy, though, would be his association with the Ku Klux Klan as one of it most prominent members, and first Grand Wizard, in the early years after the war. To his credit, as acting Grand Wizard Forrest dissolved the Klan and distanced himself from its members in 1869 and even gave a small speech promoting racial brotherhood to a group of African-Americans in 1875.
A+E Network. "Nathan Bedford Forrest." 2009. Accessed August 13, 2016. Gillard, Tom. "Confederate Cemetery." Historical Marker Database. November 6, 2009. Accessed August 12, 2016.