Confederate Cemetery-Oxford, Mississippi
The Confederate Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi is the location of over 700 graves. During the Civil War, fallen soldiers were often buried on battlefields or next to hospitals and prisons. Such was the case at this cemetery, which holds 700 Confederate fallen soldiers. It is believed that the cemetery once held a small number of Union soldiers as well, but their remains were moved after the war. Some of the buildings at the university were used as hospitals during the Battle of Shiloh, and those who died of their wounds were buried in the cemetery on campus. There were once individual gravestones located in the cemetery, but they no longer remain today. One of the campus groundskeepers unfortunately removed them to mow the grass and did not document where they were. However, a single monument in the center does commemorate the fallen soldiers.
Backstory and Context
The Confederate Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi at one point contained the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers who died after the Battle of Shiloh, which took place on April 6, 1862. The Battle of Shiloh is known as one of the most deadly battles in United States history, with many also left wounded on both sides. The number of wounded soldiers was too great to be cared for in Corinth, Mississippi, so many excess wounded Confederate soldiers were brought to the Ole Miss campus in Oxford. The campus of Ole Miss suspended classes during the Civil War and transformed many of its buildings into a hospital, allowing the facility to treat the wounded and help the war effort.
It is estimated that the hospital on the Ole Miss campus treated 2000 injured soldiers between 1862 and 1864. Of these 2000, 700 soldiers died at the hospital and were buried in the cemetery on campus. Many believe that at least 11 of the soldiers buried on campus were from the Union. This act shows the compassion of the Ole Miss hospital to soldiers considered enemies at the time. After the war had ended, the remains of the Union soldiers were moved to the Corinth National Cemetery.
The Confederate Cemetery in Oxford. Mississippi is not the only one of its kind. During the Civil War, fallen soldiers were regularly buried on battlefields or next to hospitals and prisons. These tended to be shallow unmarked graves. After the war, the national cemetery system was created to reinter Union soldiers. However, the system did not seek to reinter Confederate soldiers. As a result, it was up to states, towns and individuals to reinter Confederate fallen.
The graves in the Ole Miss campus cemetery at one point had individual markers, but today only a marker in the center remains. A campus groundskeeper once removed the individual markers to mow and failed to document their places. The marker in the center of the cemetery seeks to honor and remember those buried there. Some of the names of the fallen soldiers are listed on the marker, but many remain unknown.
2. "Confederate Burials." The Center for Civil War Research - University of Mississippi. Accessed June 8, 2014. http://www.civilwarcenter.olemiss.edu/cemeteries_csa.html.
3. Vassallo, Steve. Confederate Cemetery Speaks to Compassion of Oxford, Tragedy of War. Hot Toddy. August 06, 2014. Accessed June 28, 2019. https://hottytoddy.com/2014/08/06/Confederate-cemetery-speaks-to-compassion-of-oxford-tragedy-of-war/.