|'Confederate Rest' at Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Ala.|
One of the most historic, Civil-War related sites in all of Alabama is the “Confederate Rest” & National Cemetery in Mobile, Ala. I’ve read about this location many times, but I’d never been there in person, which is why I put it on my “bucket list” several years ago. On Monday, I finally got the chance to visit this unique historic site and officially scratched it off my list of places I’ve always wanted to visit in person.
Magnolia Cemetery, which was established in 1836, is located on Ann and Virginia Streets, which is walking distance from downtown Mobile. The “Confederate Rest” section of the cemetery, which was originally called “Soldiers Rest,” was established on Nov. 25, 1861 as a burial site for Confederate soldiers. The National Cemetery portion of Magnolia Cemetery was established on May 11, 1866, not long after the Civil War ended.
If you visit the “Confederate Rest” portion of the cemetery today, you’ll encounter a historical maker that reads as follows – “CONFEDERATE REST: The Confederate Dead: In 1862, while Alabama was a state among the Confederate States of America suffering invasion by Union forces, the City of Mobile designated this Square 13 of Magnolia Cemetery as ‘Soldiers Rest’ for Confederate Patriots who were casualties of the resulting war. There are 1,110 victims of war wounds or related disease known to be buried in Confederate Rest. Among them is an unknown sailor of the CSS Alabama whose remains were interred in 2007. Casualties of Regiments from throughout the South are buried here and the origins of a large number of the deceased are unknown. After the forced dissolution of the Confederacy, women throughout the South took the lead in decorating the graves of the war dead and building of memorials. Mobile’s ladies were no exception and the Confederate Memorial Association was founded in 1865. The monument itself was originally topped by a figure representing a Confederate soldier. It was unveiled on April 27, 1874 by Admiral Raphael Semmes who commented ‘The statue is designed to perpetuate the memory of a band of gallant men, who perished in the greatest of modern wars, in obedience to the most powerful impulse that can move the human heart – the love of Liberty.’ In 1931, the statue was shattered by lightning. The bust was saved and is mounted on its own pedestal in the center of the southern side of the Rest. Deo Vindice. Raphael Semmes Camp 11, Sons of Confederate Veterans, 2010.”
My son and I visited this historic cemetery last Monday morning, and it took us a few minutes to find the Confederate Rest section. In addition to the features of the section described on the historical marker above, we also took the time to check out some of the sections other important features. Those included the grave of Lt. J.L. Moses, who fired the last gun in defense of Mobile; the grave of General Braxton Bragg; the monument to the Mobile Rifle Co.; and the monument in honor of those who lost their lives aboard the Confederate submarine, the Hunley.
In the end, how many of you have visited “Confederate Rest” & National Cemetery in Mobile? What did you think about it? What other similar historic sites would you recommend putting on my “bucket list”? Let us know in the comments section below.