This year there was an extensive cemetery restoration project done at the Young Family Cemetery, established in 1840, on West Armuchee Road. The cemetery had been almost forgotten and was terribly grown up with most of the larger headstones being toppled by grazing cattle over the years.

A team — United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter, Sons of Confederate Veterans camp, and an Eagle Scout — collaborated on the cleanup and spent hours and hours clearing away brush, saplings, weeds, branches, and so on. It is likely that over 100-plus hours were spent in the cleanup effort. The broken and toppled headstones were repaired and righted using heavy equipment.

In the cemetery, there were two unmarked Confederate graves, that of Colonel Francis Hamilton Little, who died shortly after the war in 1868, and his brother, Lieutenant Robert M. Little, who was killed at Chickamauga and whose body was carried home for burial in a family wagon. Letters from the two Little brothers’ niece, Ms. Dixie Little, told us that the soldiers were buried on either side of William and Elizabeth Little, their parents, in the Young Family Cemetery. Mrs. Little was a Young before marriage to Mr. Little. The Little House, down the road from the cemetery, where the Little family lived, was the house where Confederate General J.B. Hood recuperated from his leg being amputated at Chickamauga.

The team worked with the Georgia Civil War Commission and funds were obtained to contract a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) company from Atlanta to come and locate the unmarked graves, and there they were, just as described in Dixie Little’s letters. In addition to funding the GPR effort, the funds were also used to purchase a Confederate-style headstone for each of the Little soldiers.

A dedication event was held on Saturday, June 4 to pay homage to all of the early West Armuchee settlers buried in the cemetery and especially the six Confederate veterans buried there. There were over 50 attendees, including descendants of the Young Family. A Color Guard (Co I, 37th GA Reenactment Group) was present for a gun salute and for a roll call of the six Confederate veterans. A reenactor stood at each veterans’ grave and when the veteran’s name was called, the reenactor replied, “Present in spirit, Sir!” A 1st National Flag draped the headstone of Col. Little and was folded and presented to one of the reenactors whose Confederate ancestor served in Col. Little’s regiment.

Article submitted by Joanie Jackson, a member of Missionary Ridge Chapter 1777 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Chattanooga, Tenn.).

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