Posted by: smyrnatnhistory | January 30, 2008

General William Barksdale

The Mitchell-Moore Cemetery is located near Mapleview and Carter Streets in Smyrna. The final resting place of some early Smyrna residents, it adjoins an unmarked plot known to some Smyrna residents as the “Barksdale-Yankee” Cemetery. It is generally believed that the area at the rear of the Mitchell-Moore Cemetery is the burial plot for 40 Union soldiers who died of cholera while stationed at a fort in the area while guarding the railroad bridge that crosses Hart’s Branch. It has been rumored that it is also the burial site of Confederate General William Barksdale. While Gen. Barksdale was born in Smyrna in 1821, he was actually buried in Jackson, Mississippi after being mortally wounded at Gettysburg.

Even though Gen. Barksdale is not buried in the little cemetery in Smyrna, it is highly possible that other members of his family are. Barksdale family research reveals that his father (also named William) died in Smyrna in 1837. His grandparents, Nathaniel and Nancy Barksdale, died in Smyrna in the 1830’s and were buried in the “Barksdale Cemetery”. The information on Gen. Barksdale was handed down through generations in Smyrna as oral history. It would be easy to assume (especially after several years) that the William Barksdale buried there was General Barksdale, when actually it was his father. (It would also make for a more interesting story to have a decorated Confederate General buried in the small town of Smyrna.)

I’m not stating this as fact. It is simply a possibility considering the long-held rumors in Smyrna history.



  1. My family owned the farm after the Barksdales. We have lived on the land continuously since then. In our family history we were under the impression that all of the Barksdale family members graves were removed and reinterred in Mississippi. We owned the land and cemetery prior to the Civil War and there are no family stories suggesting other graves were present when we buried our first family member there. I have family stories of the Yankees that were buried adjacent to our family cemetery being buried where the Barksdale plot had been after they’d been removed and sent to Mississippi. There is a pretty elaborate stone and iron spike area that we always believed to be where that family was buried. After the war the Yankees remains were repatriated to the north.

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