Fayetteville’s Confederate Cemetery: Ruminations on the futility of war | Street Jazz

Fayetteville’s Confederate Cemetery: Ruminations on the futility of war


I first became aware of Fayetteville’s Confederate Cemetery in the 1990s, while producing a documentary on the Civil War’s Battle of Fayetteville, and have returned many times over the years. Sitting in the gazebo, or walking amidst the tombstones, one is struck by the madness and futility of war.

Built in the 1870s, the cemetery, with its mass of unmarked graves, holds the bodies of soldiers not only from the Battle of Fayetteville, but also the Battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove.

Many of those who lay here died not in battle, though, but from sickness during the harsh Ozark winters of 1961 and 1962.

In the 21st Century, we now know that many of the Southern troops were not willing volunteers, but draftees, conscription being an action the South took before the North.

An exemption was granted for the ownership of 20 or more slaves, no doubt adding to the well-documented feeling among many soldiers that they were fighting a rich man’s war.

There is a calm to be found in the Confederate cemetery - and the small cemetery next to it, which holds the earthly remains of slaves - not to be found in many other such sites.

As you wander amongst the tombstones of men whose names we will never know, you may well be struck by the madness of it all, and and wonder at the fact that so many today seem intent on refighting a war which well and truly tore a nation asunder.

I wonder how the men buried in Fayetteville would feel about their deaths being used as propaganda for Nazis and white supremacists whose long history shows they are only good for attacking the innocent and the unarmed.

I have only scorn for the Confederacy, and the treasonous men who led thousands to their deaths, and cemeteries like ours are filled with the bodies of men who paid the price for their arrogance. And I think of other wars, from the Roman wars of conquest to World War I, to Iraq, and my scorn only grows for those who led men to the slaughter.

Men whose only legacy is a tombstone with no name.


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