Grave Matters, Revisited

States Rights Gist

States Rights Gist

Back in the ‘80s I started up a little newsletter, Grave Matters, “A Newsletter for Civil War Necrolithologists” ( a term I think I coined). I ran it for a few years, sending out four quarterly issues to eventually more than 300 subscribers across the county—and indeed the globe (Canada, Australia, Africa and Australia). But then I moved on.

Somewhere along the way I lost all of my copies, but last year a friend, Mike Morgan of Franklin, Tennessee, most generously sent me copy of our complete file (1985-91).

From them come some necrolithic pearls, such as this one from vol. II, no. 2 (Fall 1986), on the gravestone of Confederate Brigadier General States Rights Gist.

Gist, if you’ll recall, was one of the Southern officers mortally wounded in the charge at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864. His remains were eventually buried in Trinity Episcopal Churchyard in Columbia, South Carolina.

But somebody got his name wrong, as his headstone is inscribed:

IN MEMORY
OF BRIG. GEN.
STATES RIGHT GIST
BORN IN UNION DISTRICT, SO. CA.
SEPTMEBER 3rd 1831.
KILLED IN BATTLE AT FRANKLIN, TENN.
NOVEMBER 30th, 1864.

As General Gist’s biographer, Walter Brian Cisco (1991) observes, a lot of people got his middle name wrong (“the most common mistake changed ‘Rights’ to ‘Right’”). Worse still, the writer of Gist’s etched headstone inscription at Trinity, was the General’s brother.

Caveat mortuus!

This entry was posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Leadership--Confederate, Memory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Grave Matters, Revisited

  1. Conye McKee says:

    Am I correct in assuming that “Gist Street” in Franklin, (off of Columbia Avenue), is amply named for this brave Confederate Brigadier General? You’d think his brother would have gotten his name correct! How ironic.

    • Gene Schmiel says:

      Yes, Gist street is near Adams street and many others named for Confederate generals. I have looked, and there is no Schofield, Cox, or Opdycke street. Is that because no prominent Union generals died there (better planning — fighting behind ramparts tends to reduce casualties, while running into fire tends to increase them); or was it because they fought on the “wrong” side? (Those are rhetorical questions — we all know the answers)

  2. Theodore Savas says:

    I was a subscriber, Steve. This was a marvelous labor of love and now is a treasure-trove of information.

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