Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Fairview Cemetery - Van Buren, Arkansas
Confederate soldiers are buried in cemeteries across Arkansas, but one of the largest concentrations I have seen is at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren.
The burial ground is located on a rise just north of downtown Van Buren and was in use at the time of the war. Soldiers buried here include men killed or mortally wounded at the Battles of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, and Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Cane Hill, Dripping Springs and Van Buren, Arkansas. Over 400 of the graves are of unknown soldiers.
The ridge along the northern edge of the cemetery was used as an artillery position by Union soldiers during the Battle of Van Buren on December 28, 1862. Rifled cannon placed here dueled with Confederate cannon firing on the town from across the Arkansas River.
Markers in the cemetery detail its history and a monument in its northeast corner pays tribute to the hundreds of Southern soldiers buried there. Other graves include a monument to one of the signers of the original Arkansas constitution and an unusual "mystery grave" that some claim was left behind by Hernando de Soto during the 1500s. It appears more likely, however, to date from the early days of the town's settlement as the form of the grave is similar to those found in other Southern graveyards from the same era.
To learn more about the Battle of Van Buren, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vanburenbattle1. You can see additional photos of Fairview Cemetery in the "Online Tour" section.