A Grave Confederate Discovery

Imagine you and your partner are just about to go on holiday when a couple of strangers turn up at your door and tell you that your lawn is littered with lost graves which have lain undisturbed for many years. Well, that is exactly what Bick and Judy Gibson experienced who live in Castlewood, Virginia near the Mud Hole store section of Russell County near Bickley Mills. This is the story of a once immaculate lawn turning into a long lost important Civil War graveyard.

This incident occurred a couple of years back when, totally unexpectedly, 2 Civil War historians from Kentucky approached the couple and stated they believed that dead Confederate soldiers lay under their lawn. These Civil War buffs from Kentucky had used details and clues from a rare book entitled "Bluegrass Confederate: The Headquarters Diary of Edward O. Guerrant" (Louisiana State University Press.1999). These details would appear to have been closely cross referenced with official Confederate records which indicated a number of Confederate soldiers from Kentucky had died in the Castlewood, Virginia area. In the diary, contained in "Bluegrass Confederate", it is clearly mentioned that Confederate soldiers from Kentucky were encamped close to the Mud Hole store for considerable periods during the Civil War. They used it to cross the Clinch river. It is estimated that approximately 800 Confederate soldiers camped in the vicinity of the 1863 home belonging to the Gibsons which had originally been built for their ancestors namely Dr. Samuel Wesley Gibson and his wife Harriet. Significantly, Dr Samuel Gibson`s office still remains standing on the property and it is beneath the surrounding lawns that lie the graves of a number of Confederate soldiers as well as many others. Astonishingly, the 2 Kentucky historians located the approximate site of the individual graves near the Doctor`s office by using diving rods (or dowsing rods) and subsequently placed Confederate memorial stones with their names and regiments on the supposed grave sites. They also located other grave sites but these were much larger and were indicative of family plots. These and other unmarked graves are supposedly littered all over the mountain area. So later, with a small ceremony, 6 Confederate memorials were placed where it was believed the bodies lay and these were marked with the 6 names of Private Samuel Goode, Co D, 1st Battalion, Kentucky Mounted Rifles, CSA; Private William Garnett, Co B, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA; Private Leroy White, Co B, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA; Private C.J Edrington, Co I, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA; Private Henry Green, Co B, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA and Private James Johnson, Co D, Diamond`s 10th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA. These Civil War historians were determined, remembered Bick Gibson, "to honour Confederate dead and put stones where they are buried."

There has been a lot of subsequent talk about these Confederate gravesites located on the Gibson`s property and the family recall sometime later being visited by man from Louisiana who wanted to visit the gravesites and told the family " You know you are not alone". On being asked what he meant by the family, he replied "There`s a ghost of a soldier on the creek - watching. There are spirits or something on that hillside; a lost spirit. And, he`s not found his way.....".

Article by Stewart "Goober" Douglas

Sources: Wikipedia, Herald Courier - Civil War dead all over Castlewood couple`s property.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, Winter 2016