DEAR SUN SPOTS: It was interesting to read the May 8 column and find mention of a Confederate soldier buried in Gray. Did you know there is also a Confederate soldier buried in Durham?

I looked into the Durham story while writing the booklet, “Faces of the Civil War,” for the Androscoggin Historical Society (copies are available for $4 by calling the society at 784-0586) and wrote this account:

Mystery of the Southern Soldier

There’s a story in Durham that says 150 years ago a grieving family received the remains of a son killed in the Civil War. When they opened the casket they found a body clad in the uniform of a Confederate soldier. Supposedly, the family buried the soldier in the Strout Cemetery, and he lies there today.

What’s the truth behind this? Calls to several historically minded people in the town didn’t yield any details. But the facts exist: There is a grave in the cemetery with a headstone that says “Unknown C.S.A.” and beside the stone is a round disc that says “Confederate War Veteran.” Behind the stone are Confederate and American flags.

Who put these things there? The next step in finding answers to this question was, of course, to search the Internet, which led to a story published in the Sun Journal on April 23, 2001, that said: “An unknown Confederate Civil War veteran was finally given recognition in a solemn ceremony on Saturday. … a new monument made from North Carolina granite, provided by Paul Dimatteo of Maine Memorial Co. at no cost, was installed declaring the site the final resting place for an ‘unknown’ Confederate veteran of the Civil War.”

The newspaper said the body of the Confederate soldier probably was shipped to Durham by mistake when it should have gone to Durham, N.C., and local officials arranged to have the body buried in the town cemetery. “… [A]n impressive Confederate grave dedication took place involving blues and grays as one unified group,” the story said. The event drew more than 150 participants. A reception followed in the Durham Congregational Church. May the soldier rest in peace, among friends in Maine.

Here’s the link to the Sun Journal story in 2001: — Russ Burbank, Lewiston

ANSWER: Russ took the photos of the grave in Durham and the Confederate emblem you see here. Sun Spots thought Memorial Day weekend was a good time to publish this and the following entries about the Civil War.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to the May 8 column, I have researched Civil War soldiers from Leeds for many years and would be happy to provide information. Many soldiers had overlap with surrounding areas.

For instance, Winslow Turner enlisted from Leeds, was a resident of Buckfield, is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Auburn, served with the 20th Maine and likely was with Col. Chamberlain at Little Round Top.

PBS will air a program regarding the 16th Maine at Gettysburg around July 1. Joseph Lamb, a soldier from Leeds who moved to Lisbon, served with the 16th. His family provided pictures of Joseph which we treasure.

I prefer Internet contact at [email protected] if possible. — Marilyn Burgess, Leeds

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to the May 8 letter sent from Andrew Hall requesting information about Lewiston-Auburn during the Civil War, there’s another book he might want to check out titled “A Vast Army of Women: Maine’s Uncounted Forces in the American Civil War” by Lynda L. Sudlow.

My great-great-grandmother, Mary Lovejoy-Cotton, is featured in this book. She had a fascinating story, passed down from generations, detailing her bravery as she worked as a nurse on the battlefield. She was friends with Mrs. Lincoln, and as the story goes, she stayed with her when the president was assassinated, and even made the first lady’s mourning dress.

Our family is very proud to share that story! — [email protected] 

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