Tears glisten in Debbie Morgan’s eyes as she reads a newly found 147-year-old letter penned by an ancestor who lies under an “unknown” marker on the manicured slopes of Marietta National Cemetery, one of 10,312 Union soldiers who came to Georgia in 1864 and never went home.
“Finally, after all these years, his family knows where he is,” says Morgan, an Indiana transplant who lives in Powder Springs. “We just found out.”
It happened by fluke. Morgan, program director of the West Cobb Senior Center, heard that local historian Bradley J. Quinlin was an expert on Marietta National and asked him to take her elderly folks on a tour. He did. That was five years ago.
Then, just a few weeks ago, she heard from a cousin in Indiana who had found a sheaf of letters written by an ancestor who was wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, 1864. The soldier, Pvt. Wilson Fields, died less than four months later in a hospital in East Point, but no one ever told the family where he was buried.
Morgan gave Quinlin the letters on the off chance her relative might be buried in the cemetery she had “passed a million times.”
After studying regimental, cemetery and muster logs, Quinlin soon identified Fields’ grave as being under marker 5386. He had been disinterred and moved to Marietta in 1866.