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Unknown Civil War Soldier Found in Virginia Brought Home for Burial

October 29, 1990

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The remains of an unknown Confederate soldier found in Virginia were carried to a new grave Sunday in a horse-drawn hearse, accompanied by fife and drum music and about 150 people in Civil War garb.

Forensic scientists determined the soldier, about 20 when he died, was from North Carolina. Scattered among his bones were five buttons with sunburst symbols worn by Tar Heel troops during the war.

The soldier’s remains were unearthed recently from the site of the Cold Harbor battlefield in Virginia. A Civil War buff found the remains with a metal detector and word reached the North Carolina Sons of the Confederacy, which arranged to have the soldier buried in his home state.

About 2,000 people lined a downtown street to view the processional.

Fifes and drums played ″Dixie″ as members of the North Carolina Brigade, a Civil War re-enactment group, walked behind a horse-drawn hearse. The re- enactors had the same beards, tired eyes and sometimes ragged clothes as Confederates in Civil War photographs.

Franceine Rees, a member of United Daughters of the Confederacy, held two Confederate flags as she watched the hearse go by. On her lapel were nine pins bearing the names of her ancestors who fought in the Civil War.

″This means a lot to me because I had 25 ancestors who served,″ she said. ″Some of them came back, some of them didn’t. Some were captured, some were tortured. All of them suffered.″

Organizer Tom Smith, whose great-grandfather served in the Civil War, said he was proud to be associated with the soldier’s burial.

″There’s a lot of people here and there’s no hatred here. They’re simply interested in their history and past,″ Smith said.

Civil rights groups did not protest the celebration, but the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called the event ″insensitive″ to blacks.

Some black bystanders agreed the parade and ceremony was a part of history.

″I think it’s real nice. We don’t have parades like this through here that often,″ said Ronald Davis, standing with his family on his front porch.

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