Once-unknown Confederate soldier's marker unveiled
One marker has always seemed out of place among the rows of Confederate gravestones at Beaufort National Cemetery.
It once stood out because the soldier who lay beneath it was unknown.
On Saturday, that soldier joined the ranks of his comrades.
Cloaked under the second national flag of the Confederacy was a new marker engraved with the name Pvt. Haywood Treadwell. With a tug, one of his ancestors — a 5-year-old North Carolina boy who carries the same last name — unveiled the marker to a crowd of about 100.
A Sampson County, N.C., turpentine farmer, Haywood Treadwell was a member of the 61st North Carolina volunteers fighting in the rifle pits at Battery Wagner on Morris Island when he was wounded and captured Aug. 26, 1863.
He died in a Union hospital in Beaufort 17 days later.
His identity remained a mystery until a Beaufort woman researching that hospital — the William Wigg Barnwell House — discovered in 2010 Treadwell may have been buried anonymously because of a misspelled name.
His new marker, installed in April, closed one chapter of the cemetery's history and opened a new one for Treadwell's descendants, some of whom traveled more than 200 miles to honor the young soldier.
"There were never any stories about this in our family," said descendent Vicky Scarboro, 55, of Raeford, N.C. "We didn't even know we were Confederate on this side (of the family). It makes you want to go back further."
Scarboro said she plans to bring Treadwell's story home to her children.
Barbara Alatorre, 52, of Dahlonega, Ga., joked that she's already done that, by bringing her daughter to the Beaufort ceremony. Now it's 24-year-old Leighana's job, Alatorre said.
The cousins were among 12 descendants to attend the ceremony. It had been more than 20 years since they saw other family members, such as Henry Treadwell of Fayetteville. His son, Henry Treadwell II, who unveiled the marker, stoically held onto the white banner through three military rifle volleys and cannon firings.
"My momma tracked our history going back to the 1600s," Henry Treadwell said. "But this has been really educational."
As the ceremony ended, the gathering sang "Dixie," and a color guard marched across the lawn, followed by a few historical re-enactors — men in Confederate gray and a woman shrouded in black.
Many in the crowd chatted with each other about the words of speaker Neil Baxley, a military historian and author who challenged them to seek out their own genealogies and stories. Preserve everything, Baxley urged, even family legends.
"Until the resurrection, there's not a soul who'll challenge it, and by then, they're not going to care," Baxley joked. "And so what? Your kids will enjoy it."
"It makes a good story."