The Union Soldiers Of Colonial Park Cemetery
Upon entering Savannah's Colonial Park Cemetery, you're immediately taken back in time to the Hostess City's rich past, both dark and triumphant.
You'll walk past monumental historical figures including Button Gwinnett, who signed the Declaration of Independence. You can't help but stroll by graves of those perished by Yellow Fever in 1820. Dive deep enough into the details, and you can easily find yourself there for hours.
And you're sure to notice the back wall of the cemetery. It's covered with tombstones, oddly displaced, mounted to the brick like carefully preserved banners that would have otherwise been lost forever.
But take a closer look. You'll notice something strange.
What happened here?
"The dates don't line up...How could Josiah Muir die at 11 years old in 1820, but his wife, Mary passed in 1823, age 47, and their son Lewis died in 1820 at 12 years old? Clearly doesn't make sense."
In December of 1864, the Union Army took over Savannah, and General Sherman ordered his troops to camp inside Colonial Park Cemetery. They needed an open area for their horses and supplies, and an outer perimeter for security. Unfortunately for them, it was one of the coldest winters recorded in Savannah's history - and after marching from Atlanta to the sea, those young soldiers were cold, muddy, tired, and sad to be away from their families at Christmas.
For warmth, they sought shelter in the dark, skeleton-filled tombs within Colonial's walls. They waited - day upon day, frozen night upon frozen night - for orders from General Sherman on their next move.
By the time they received word to move on toward Columbia, S.C., 40 long days had passed, and those young men were more than happy to be on their way.
But they left their mark on Colonial Park Cemetery. Quite literally.
Whether out of boredom or distasteful jest, Union Soldiers used acid and daggers to alter names and dates on multiple tombstones inside the cemetery.
Josiah Muir's tombstone is one of many you can find today. If you're looking carefully.
It's the shocking, if not slightly comical peek at the humanity behind the historic uniforms.
Visit the back wall in Colonial Park Cemetery, find Josiah's tombstone among others, gently touch the writing, and know that you've touched the same stone as a Union Soldier during the Civil War.