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Missing Civil War Soldier Coming Home At Last

October 15, 1986

GAINESBORO, Tenn. (AP) _ The remains of a Confederate soldier who was buried under the wrong name are being returned to Tennessee after a 123-year search by his relatives and some bureaucratic shortcuts.

Katherine Cassetty, wife of the soldier’s great-great-grandson, said she used family letters and Civil War documents from the National Archives and the Pentagon to verify that the grave marked ″Silas Clark″ at Cave Hill Cemetery near Louisville, Ky., was actually that of Cyrus G. Clark, who as a prisoner of war died in 1863.

Clark’s descendants received permission to have the body exhumed from the Kentucky cemetery on Saturday and buried again on Oct. 25 at Gainesboro City Cemetery.

Jim Birdwell, a great-great-nephew of Clark’s, said he was told by cemetery officials that all of Clark’s living descendants would have to sign forms giving permission for the remains to be exhumed.

″Fortunately, that was amended to just the three living grandchildren. Otherwise, I’d still be out getting names,″ he said.

Clark’s wife, Celia Jane, died in 1917. Her body also will be exhumed, from Skaggs Branch Cemetery, so she can be buried next to her husband in this Middle Tennessee town of 1,100.

″I’m just tickled that he’s going to be coming home,″ said Jenny Clark, who is Clark’s 95-year-old granddaughter. She and two cousins are the only living grandchildren of about 30 children born to Clark’s seven children.

About 20 of Clark’s descendants, along with some local history buffs, will make the trip to Kentucky to oversee exhumation of his remains. The family, who made weekend treks to the simple grave in Kentucky since 1972, when the grave was discovered.

Miss Clark said family legend has it that her grandfather did not want to go to war.

″I’ve always been told that he hid out in the woods part of the time to avoid being drafted,″ she said, but a general finally caught up with the Jackson County farmer and forced him into the cavalry.

″I would give the world to be with you all,″ Clark wrote in his last letter home.

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