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James J. Phillips
Military Information
Randolph County, Arkansas

James J. Phillips

Thursday, June 1, 2000
© Pocahontas Star Herald

Pvt. James J. Phillips, Company G 16th Tenn. Cavalry (also known as Wilson's Tennessee Cavalry Regiment). Captured by the Union Forces on July 27 1863, in Henderson county Tenn., he was sent to a Union Prison Comp (Camp Morton) in Indianapolis, Ind. He was paroled on Feb 14 1865. At left is Phillips' gravestone.  by Dave Davis It was a period of time in which most historians would call four of the darkest years in our nation's history. Neighbor fought against neighbor, brother against brother and friend against friend.  To some it was known as the Civil War or War between the states. while to others it was known as the War of the Rebellion. Men such as James J Phillips wee branded by some as rebels, traitors, advocates of slavery, and enemies of the Union cause.  these men, though sympathetic to the cause of the South, had never owned a slave and had fought primarily to protect their states, their homes, and their families from an invading army. Years after the war James obituary simply referred to him as "an old and well known citizen of the county and soldier of the lost cause." Except for this small reference, and hints of information in family folklore, his service in the war would have been all but forgotten.  Through several hours of research information donated from various family members, and help from the veteran's administration and McNabb Funeral Home, James J. Phillips was recently honored as a monument was placed at his gravesite commemorating his service as a private in the 16th Tennessee Calvary, Confederate States Army. A few days later and some 90 years after James death, we came to view the monument and to simply pay tribute to an old soldier of the lost cause. On this day there was no large crowd, no 21 gun salute, no band to play farewell to a fallen comrade, nor even a lone bugler to play a simple rendition of "Taps" (although I feel James would have enjoyed such a ceremony). Two of us came to pay homage to both a war  veteran and a great grandfather whom we had never met and who died some 50 years before I was even born. Perhaps it seems strange to go to so much trouble to honor someone whom you have never met.  I suppose this is one reason the U.S. government set aside such days as Memorial Day and Veterans Day so that those Americans who fought in wars both foreign and domestic would not be forgotten. As I knelt down beside the veteran's monument I placed a flag on either side. One the left was a small Confederate flag- a symbol representing a cause which James both believed in and fought for but a cause which was unsuccessful. On the right I placed a small U.S. Flag- a symbol which, after the war, I'm sure he later embraced though it may have been difficult despite having been pardoned and given amnesty the U.S. Government. After a few photographs were taken, a wreath was later placed on James' grave.  On special holidays and other special occasions, I've watched on television how presidents and other heads of state place wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Although we preformed no great ceremony or no heads of state were present, we simply took pride that day in knowing that we had placed a wreath upon our great-grandfather's tomb and finally his tomb could no longer be considered that of an unknown soldier.

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Updated: Monday, 16-May-2011 06:33:01 MDT

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