Confederate Grave Yard found in Campbell County
Two women’s efforts lead to discovery of burial ground
Submitted by Trulene H. Nash Reprinted with permission from “The Campbell Countian”
For some forgotten soldiers in Campbell County, it took the chance meeting of two women to uncover a treasure trove of history.
Alice Coker knew the cemetery was there and that Bob Delap and several others kept it in excellent shape until the 1960s. Coker used to visit the cemetery and always wondered why there were so many sunken graves and who was buried in them. Bob Delap told her he had heard that there was a Civil War encampment at the foot of Pine Mountain near a big spring and that many of the soldiers had sickened and died.
Coker says, “I always thought I’d find time to do some research but I never did.”
Some 40 years later the second piece of the puzzle dropped into her lap. In December 2002 a woman by the name of Leda Cornett fromNorth Carolina walked into the Campbell County Historical Museum and said she believed that her grandfather was buried in Delap Cemetery. Sara Chaniott was on duty that day and was one of the few people who knew about the old neglected cemetery. Sara called Alice and Alicesaid “Please send the lady to my house as soon as possible.”
From the visitor Coker learned that records showed members of the 58th Regiment of the Confederate Army of North Carolina  were buried at Delap. From these bits of information an image began to swirl into focus.
“The winter of 1862-1863 at Delap was a very harsh winter,” Coker found after doing more research. “Over 1000 men came fromCumberland Gap, where two Tennesseans had joined the troops. (The regiment was formed at Camp Martin in Mitchell County, NC.). The regiment was assigned to guard Big Creek Gap.”
Records show that a total of 50 men died while camped in the Jacksboro area.
Recently, county prisoners, under the supervision of Environmental Officer Glennis Monday, began the slow arduous process of clearing the ground. Eighty loads of brush have been removed from the cemetery. The needs for preserving this cemetery, however, are still many: including chemicals to kill the roots of plants that have been cut down, road work, fill dirt, and a fence with a strong gate. Bob Andreas, CountyVeterans’ Service Officer, made arrangements for the fifty military headstones which have already been delivered.
This Memorial Day these once “lost” soldiers can rest in peace. Although they were never completely forgotten, their remains will soon be marked with tombstones after more than 140 years. Now, their families have a place to come and honor their ancestors thanks to two determined women who never forgot.
A fund has been set up at Peoples Nation Bank, Civil War- Delap, 2300 Jacksboro Pike, P.O. Box 1221, Lafollette, TN 37766.
Delap Cemetery Dedication An Emotional Event
by Trulene H. Nash
As the strains of “Dixie” sung by lovers of the south and its heritage wafted gently through the hollows surrounding the Delap Cemetery tears flowed and goose bumps abounded.
Local musicians played songs from the Civil War period as well as “Amazing Grace” adding a solemn feel to the gathering. A favorite song of Southerners during the Civil War was “When Johnny comes Marching Home”. Sadly for the families of the men buried there, their young fathers, sons, and brothers did not make it home. Many of the descendants of those troops were in attendance and brought containers of native soil from their hometowns and symbolically sprinkled on the graves of their ancestors. Men and women dressed in the uniforms and costumes of the time period placed flowers on each grave.
The cemetery took on a local flavor as four volunteers from Campbell County received the Jefferson Davis Gold Medal for their service. Alice Coker was given a standing ovation from the crowd for her efforts in having the cemeter reclaimed and recognized . Gerald Myers was recognized as the chairman of the cemetery committee of the Campbell County Historical Society, Trulene Nash was honored for her research into the identies of those buried in the cemetery. Glennis Monday, the Campbell County Enviromental Officer, was honored for his work in the clean up of the property.
Following the award ceremony, a 21 gun salute wsa given by a group of Civl War re-enactors. Thier volleys were followed by shots from cannons provided by the 1st East Tennessee Artillery Battery. With the tolling of a bell the name of each of the 119 soldiers was read aloud as many of their descendants stood in memory.
Gasps could be heard through the crowd as the ceremony ended with the haunting sounds of “Taps” being played in the distance.
The cemetery is easily located by following Ellison Road off of Highway 25W near Woodson’s Mall.
For the future we are planning to erect a fence, restore broken stones in the old section of the cemetery and purchase an adjoining piece of property to provide parking. Your tax deductible contributions for upkeep and maintenance of the Cemetery will be greatly appreciated. Send to Campbell County Historical Society, Delap Cemetery Fund, 235 East Central Ave. LaFollette, TN 37766.
Note from U.S. Thompson: Recently discovered intact was : James Thompson(jr), The Spanish American War,Co. M , 4th Unit. This was found when the grave yard was cleared in 2004