By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
One hundred eleven years after his death, a Civil War soldier received his long-overdue Confederate honors.
The descendents of Jacob Miles Garland gathered at Liberty Cemetery on Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to their ancestor--a Confederate soldier who died in 1899.
The first Confederate Memorial known to take place at the West Ky. 80 cemetery, the scene was set in true southern style. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans donned Civil War uniforms while the mourning widow figure of the colonial style sat aside the officers conducting the service. Not a word she spoke during the ceremony, her emotions covered by the long black veil traditional of that time period.
Jacob Miles Garland was honored for his military duty during a time the country was divided and families were split on their beliefs of freedom and lifestyles. He served in Company G of the 9th Regiment of North Carolina Civil War Registry and with the 1st Regiment of the North Carolina Calvary. He joined into the battle on Feb. 28, 1862 and military records show his service through Dec. 1864. His battles included Gettysburg in which 406 Confederate soldiers were involved. He was a member of the Buckham County Rangers and fought at Bradley Station, which was one of the most significant Confederate wins of the war. J.M. Garland was at Appomattox when Union troops captured 5,000 men on the retreat from Richmond, Virginia and General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union forces.
Genealogy records trace residents from the Liberty and Swiss Colony community back to Garland. Ed Wilkerson, the great-great grandson of Garland, and his wife were excited to have their ancestor honored for his military duty.
“This is the first Confederate Memorial done at this cemetery,” Joann said. “I just get emotional when I talk about it.”
Ed Wilkerson and his brother Gary are the sole brothers from the fifth generation of Garland. As the ceremony closed, Wilkerson was presented with the folded Confederate flag, as in tradition with military ceremonies. Wilkerson then presented the flag to Judy Krahenbuhl, member of the Heritage Hills Geneaology Center and Museum.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans are an organization dedicated to preserving the history of America but who want to recognize the importance of Civil War soldiers.
“The Sons of Confederate Veterans is not an anti-anything organization,” said Hamblin. “We just want to honor those Confederate soldiers who didn’t receive their honors.”
Staff writer Nita Johnson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.