View of Beechgrove Confederate Cemetery from I-24 westbound towards Murfreesboro/Nashville
photo by Sharon Nee Goodman
Overlooking the Beech Grove exit off of I-24, the cemetery sits just off the interstate between I-24 and Highway 41.
From my count of graves, there are 52 Unknown Confederate Soldiers, and only about 4 gravestones that I found with names engraved on them (there may be more, but I didn't see them). Of these gravestones, three of them are within a black, wrought iron fence. The names are J.P. Stephenson, Mary S.A. Stephenson, and Louisa A. Stephenson. Two other gravestones bear the name of Joseph Carney. The original stone is worn and broken and another, newer stone has been erected.
Throughout the top of the cemetery hill are piles of rocks that may have been grave houses. I don't know what the piles were for, but there were about a dozen seperate piles of rocks. From the literature that I found at the cemetery, it doesn't explain what these piles of rocks were to be used for. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know!
UPDATE: From a fellow genealogist that I know, I received the following email explaining what the piles of rocks are. Here is his email:
"I just visited your website, that part having to do with the Beech Grove Cemetery. I am a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Manchester and Winchester Camps. The Manchester Camp # 72, owns and maintains the cemetery. The stone mounds you saw were pre-War Between the States burial mounds. People were actually buried above ground in these stone cairns. Who they are and other details are lost to time. I have been a member for several years and, to the best of my knowledge, no one has come forward to search for or claim the graves. The unknown confederate graves are those of men from Confederate units who fought in the area of Beech Grove/Hoovers Gap when the Union Army was making it's drive on Tullahoma. There were other units involved in the battle but only one that I am aware of from the Coffee and Franklin County areas. That is the 17th Tennessee Infantry. Their losses in this battle are unknown to me.
You mentioned, also, the Spencer repeating rifle. This was the first time in warfare that a repeating rifle was used in battle. The men of the 17th had a really bad day.
For further information you can contact Mr. O. B. Wilkinson, <firstname.lastname@example.org>."
Thank you, George, for letting me know about this!!!
UPDATES FOR THIS PAGE:
September 19, 2011- I received an email from Mike in Katy, TX giving me some information on the Stephenson family that is buried in the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery. Here is the info that he sent. Thanks, Mike!
Robert R Stephenson, born about 1809, KY. Died 23 Jan 1833, Bedford Co, TN. Married Marenda (Marinda) "Millie" Painter, born about 1810. Died May 1850, Big Spring, Rutherford Co, TN.
Child of Robert R. and Marenda Painter Stephenson:
James Porter Stephenson, born 14 Jan 1831. Died 2 May 1881. Married Mary Susan Ann Stephens, born 12 Apr 1834. Died 16 Dec 1881. According to the Philpott Papers, Mary Susan Ann Stephens was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Patton Stephens.
Louisa A. Stephenson was daughter of James and Mary.
I have no idea why they were buried there. James Stephenson, father of J. P., is buried 2.4 miles west at the Puncheon Creek Cemetery. This James was the first of my clan to enter that area having come there from Limestone Co. ALA about 1822. He homesteaded close to the Puncheon Creek Cemetery area and his descendants eventually scattered out in the Beechgrove area. His son Robert lived in the Hoover Gap area about 2 or 3 miles up I-24 from Beechgrove. His son George D. lived on the east side of the Puncheon Creek Cemetery. Several other children were in the immediate area.
May 19, 2011- I received an email from a very nice gentleman named Walter Timoschuk, III and he sent me some information on the Beech Grove Pioneer & Confederate Cemetery. I should have been aware that this was a pioneer cemetery (I took a photo of the plaque!) but for some reason, it just didn't sink in that it was a pioneer cemetery! So I'm including his email here for those that weren't consciously aware of it's pioneer origins! Thank you very much for bringing it to my attention, Walter!
Subject: The Beechgrove Cemetery was a Pioneer Cemetery prior to the Battle at Hoover's Gap.
The Beechgrove Cemetery was a Pioneer Cemetery prior to the Battle at Hoover's Gap. It should be posted as Pioneer /Confederate Cemetery. That is the reason for the graves besides Joseph Carney born 1730 and Isaac Eoff. Part of Isaac Eoff land bounty for serving in the revolutionary war was land awarded to him near that exact spot in Beechgrove. Most of the families that moved during that time moved in groups and many of the markers was wood. Isaac Eoff was fortunate to have a relative that petitioned the Veterans Administration for a stone for his grave.
I am doing research and I believe Joseph Carney might have been there as well. I wish I had the time to research the area and see who moved with Isaac Eoff and Joseph Carney to the area. Back then Beech grove was considered sacred indian hunting ground.
PS. By the way I have petitioned NSSAR and NSDAR to honor Isaac Eoff and have him honored and his grave rededicated.
Walter J. Timoschuk, III
National Society Sons of the American Revolution
National DAR Liaison Committee Chairman
Society of 1812
September 12, 2010- I spent 3 weeks in Tennessee and went down to the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery again and spent about an hour wandering around the grounds. It has changed a lot since my last visit. You can view the photos that I took here.
April 2, 2010- I received an email from Danny Hammond recently telling me that he had recently been out to the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery and that there was a stack of headstones that looked like they could be for the soldiers buried there. He sent me the photos and has granted permission for them to be posted on this page. Thank you, Danny.
April 1, 2010- From Tullahoma News (last half of March)
Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery & Park has a new monument honoring Confederate Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, whose divison fought in the nearby Battle of Hoover’s Grove.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he was a U.S. Army officer until he resigned his commission to teach at Cumberland College in Lebanon.
At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, he was commissioned a major in the Tennessee Militia and shortly afterward joined the Confederate Army and rose in the battlefields to the rank of major general.
Although he was wounded twice in battle and later injured when he was hit by a train, he lived to be a successful businessman and died at the age of 86.
The monument to Stewart was installed by Winchester Monument Co., whose owners are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The park restrooms are now open for the season, according to O.B. Wilkinson, Life Member, Cheatham Camp 72.
The other side of the monument reads in part:
“No faint of heart existed in the brave soldiers of Stewart’s Division as they marched double quick the five miles from their camp at Fairfield in the rain on the afternoon of Friday, June 24, 1863, to make three frontal assaults against the entrenched invading Union forces of John Wilder’s mounted infantry…”
The park is just off Interstate 24 at the Beech Grove exit.
February 18, 2010- I received an email from Dan Hammond today and he stated that he had just visited the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery. He said that there were "several brand new headstones for the soldiers stacked under the pavillion (approximately 15-20) that appeared to have names, ranks, and duty on them. It appears that someone seems to know where some of the men are buried." On my next trip to Tennessee, I will go take some photos to update this page. Thanks to Dan for the update! It is appreciated!
September 24, 2009- I got an email from Cheryl Parsons, who went to visit the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery recently, and she contacted me with the offer to share some of her photos that I didn't have of the cemetery on my website. I appreciate her offer and here are her photos.
John C. Ashley grave marker - This is inside the black iron fence with J. P Stephenson, Mary S. A. Stephenson, and Louisa Stephenson. One online source lists this child with parents, William Ashley and Polly (Weaver) Ashley. I haven't verified this, but I do know Ashleys lived all around Beech Grove. Do you remember if this grave was there when you photographed those inside the fence? I don't know if it was moved later and wonder about the part lying beside it on the ground. Isaac Eoff grave marker - Isaac Eoff was married to Margaret Knox. He applied for a Revolutionary War Pension on 7 August 1832. My information says he died in Coffee County. I'm not sure why this Revolutionary War soldier has a marker in the Confederate Cemetery.
March 28, 2009- From the Manchester Times "Letters to the Editor", dated March 25, 2009.
Visit cemeteries during Confederate History Month
To the editor:
Both County Mayor David Pennington and Manchester Mayor Betty Superstein have proclaimed April as Confederate History Month. Kirby-Smith # 327, United Daughters of the Confederacy, of Sewanee, Tennessee and M/G B. F. Cheatham Camp 72, Sons of Confederate Veterans, are also observing April as Confederate History Month. The War Between the States began and ended in April. As descendants of the men who fought in that war, we invite the public to join us in recalling our history and considering the lessons we can learn from our past.
We encourage you to visit our local cemeteries that have graves of Confederate Veterans. Local cemeteries are in Beech Grove, Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, and Winchester. Visit local battle sites in Beech Grove, Liberty Gap, Shelbyville, Murfreesboro, Guest Hollow, and Franklin. The small museum at The Blockade Runners in Wartrace is very interesting. You can spend an afternoon looking at the wonderful hand-made period clothing for both men and women there. Our beautiful countryside is full of historical, interesting places. Get out and enjoy it!
Patricia Anderson Historian Kirby-Smith #327 UDC
October 14, 2008
Thank you to Laura for sending me this information. If anyone attends this dedication, if you send me photos of the event, I will post them on this page. Thank you! SNG
Everyone is invited to Beech Grove/Hoover's Gap Confederate Cemetery & Park for the 20th Tennessee Monument Dedication, Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 2:00 P.M..
O.B. Wilkinson, Life member Cheatham Camp 72
Beech Grove Cemetery & Park Trustee
20TH TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
A REGIMENT OF MANY HEROES
THOMAS B. SMITH
THEIR BRAVERY WILL NEVER DIE
DEDICATED NOVEMBER 1, 2008
SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
20th TENNESSEE MONUMENT DEDICATION
2 P.M. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2008
BEECH GROVE CONFEDERATE CEMETERY & PARK
Sponsored by Beech Grove Confederate Memorial Association
Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans
Cheatham SCV Camp 72, Manchester
Kirby-Smith UDC Chapter #327
.Artillery Shots …………………..................................................... Winsteads Battery
Posting of Colors ………………………………... 8/16 Confederate Infantry Re-enactors
Invocation ……………………………………………….………..Chaplain John W. Hill
Welcome & recognition of visitors ……….……Tenn. SCV Div. Cmdr. Michael Bradley
Roll call of known Confederate killed in Battle of Hoover’s Gap. . Chaplain John W. Hill
Laying of Wreath ………………………………………………………….UDC Members
Dedication of Monument ……………………,,Tenn. SCV Div. Cmdr. Michael Bradley
I AM THEIR FLAG …………………………...Tenn. SCV Div. Cmdr. Michael Bradley
Dual Taps …………………………………………………………………. SCV Members
Salute to Confederate buried in Beech Grove Cemetery:
Playing of DIXIE…… Recorded by ……Kirby-Smith Chapter #327 member Robin Cox
Artillery Shot ………………………………………………….....… .. A Salute to DIXIE
Everyone is invited to partake of refreshments provided by Kirby-Smith UDC # 327 members dressed in period clothing.
Beech Grove Confederate Memorial Association, Cheatham SCV Camp 72, Tennessee Division SCV, Kirby-Smith Chapter #327 of UDC thanks you for attending this memorable event that has been a long time coming in honoring another of our brave Tennessee Regiments.
First, to all of those that had in their hearts a love of these men and an urge to see this placing of monument come to pass by furnishing the funds, a huge thank you !!!!!!!!
To all members of SCV, UDC, Winstead’s Battery Artillery, 8/16th Confederate Infantry Re-enactors, for Kirby-Smith ladies in period clothing for refreshments.
All visitors please visit the Cemetery & Park often and use and enjoy the facilities, we strive to keep them nice, just for you. Tell all your families & friends & invite them also to use and enjoy the facilities often.
September 26, 2008: I've been back to the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery and have taken some more photos. These were taken in August 2008.
Here are the photos that I took while at the cemetery the first time I visited there.
Gravestone of Joseph Carney (new stone) (old stone) (both stones say the same thing, the older one is very worn)
From the Tullahoma News, June 11, 2006:
Special flags ceremony coming to Hoover's Gap on anniversary of battle on June 25
BEECH GROVE The Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association (TCWPA) is sponsoring a project entitled "Two Flags Over Tennessee: Reclaiming Our Civil War Heritage."
The association's twoyear statewide plan is to fly two Civil War-era flags: an 1861 version of the U.S. "Stars and Stripes" featuring 34 stars, and the 11-star, 1861 Confederate "First National" flag, known as the "Stars and Bars," over all of Tennessee's most significant Civil War battlefields.
The U.S. flag will fly over Union battle positions and the First National flag over Confederate battle positions at as many as 50 sites across Tennessee.
The flags program is scheduled to be held beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at Hoover's Gap in Beech Grove in Coffee County, according to Mary Ann Peckham, executive director of the association.
The two-year journey crisscrossing the state will be documented in two large scrapbooks collecting and preserving photographs, letters, and news articles from activities and events at each location.
TCWPA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and interpreting Tennessee's Civil War battlefields for the benefit of present and future generations.
"Two Flags Over Tennessee: Reclaiming our Civil War Heritage" will recognize Tennessee's most important battlefields and emphasize the importance of finding ways to preserve the ground where thousands of American soldiers, wearing both blue and gray, gave their lives for the causes in which they fervently believed, Ms. Peckham said.
She said the flags were first flown in February at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River in observance of the 144th anniversary of that battle.
Since February, the flags have flown at Fort Donelson, Fallen Timbers, on the Memphis Queen Riverboat commemorating the first battle of Memphis on the Mississippi River, and at the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield dedication which was held Saturday.
Ms. Peckham and other members of the TCWPA will join Dr. Michael Bradley of Tullahoma and other local officials, preservationists, and historians to commemorate the anniversary of the 1863 battle at Hoover's Gap.
The public is invited to participate in the free event which will include music, reenactors, a volley of rifle fire and an artillery salute.
The Battle of Hoover's Gap was fought June 23-25, 1863, as part of the Union attempt to capture Tullahoma and to advance on Chattanooga. Although not a large battle, such as the ones fought at approximately the same time at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, historians explain that the engagement at Hoover's Gap was important since it brought much of Tennessee behind Union lines.
The engagement is also the first time in the history of warfare that one side was armed with repeating rifles. The Union force, Wilder's Brigade of Mounted Infantry, carried seven-shot Spencer rifles. With the introduction of effective repeating weapons the events at Hoover's Gap marked a change in the history of warfare.
For more information email: email@example.com