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confederate soldier

Unknown Confederate Soldier

The Unknown Confederate Soldier is a Confederate soldier of the American Civil War whose remains are entombed in Harrison County, Mississippi. The remains were discovered in late 1979 by Rick Forte, Chairman of the Combined Boards of Beauvoir on a battlefield of the Vicksburg Campaign. The discovery led to the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier in the Confederate Veterans Cemetery at Beauvoir, in Biloxi, Mississippi. The soldier's remains were buried there in a cypress casket in 1980. The tomb, inscribed "Known but to God", was dedicated on June 6, 1981

The remains were carefully authenticated from artifacts accompanying them, but the identity of the soldier, or of his unit, or place of origin is not known. Approval of the plan and official designation was sought and received all recognized Confederate organizations - Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, and Children of the Confederacy.

On June 6, 1981, the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier was unveiled. Its two sides are inscribed: The Unknown Soldier of the Confederate States of America. The head of the tomb bears the inscription: Known but to God. Atop of the tomb is the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America, and at its foot is a stanza from the poem CSA by Father Abram Joseph Ryan, poet-priest of the Confederacy.

Ah! fearless on many a day for us,
They stood in front of the fray for us,
And held the foeman at bay for us;
And tears should fall
Fore'er o'er all
Who fell while wearing the Gray for us.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans held ceremonies on May 1, 1983 to award the Confederate Medal of Honor to the Unknown Soldier. The awarding of this medal began in 1976 as a project of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to complete a process begun, but never consummated, by the Confederate Congress. During the war, the Congress had passed measures to honor valor on the battlefield and elsewhere, with President Davis' approval, but medals were never awarded. Conditions for the award were similar to those governing the United States Congressional Medal of Honor. The Unknown Soldier represents the intrepidity and gallantry at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, by unnumbered Confederate soldiers. The Unknown Soldier also represents all who lie in unknown places, and who may be deserving of this medal, although their names and services will never be known. The medal awarded to the Unknown Soldier was on display in the Beauvoir Confederate Museum.

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