He was the “unknow soldier” in Kennesaw National Battlefield Park until a historian from Marietta gave him back his name.
His grave has been in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park near the Illinois Monument since the Civil War. He was buried where he fell in the battle for Kennesaw Mountain. By happenstance he was missed when the fallen were moved to the Marietta National Cemetary. A headstone was put on his grave proclaiming him the “unknown soldier” of Cheatam Hill.
We have hiked by this lonely site many times and seen flowers and memento’s on the grave. A split rail fence protects this soldier’s resting place. I have often thought about the grief his family felt when he never returned from the Union army. His mother must have hoped and prayed for his homecoming for many years as did the rest of his family, and how sad that they never knew where he was buried or what happened to him. I feel certain many people wondered about this fallen soldier over the long years he has lain there as the “unknown soldier” of Cheatham Hill.
A historian, and Kennesaw National Battlefield Park volunteer, Brad Quinlin from Marietta finely took the bull by the horns and wrestled that sucker to the ground. After 5 years of spending every spare moment investigating, he had a few lucky breaks and now we know the “unknown soldier” of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield was Private Mark Carr of the U.S.Army. Carr was a farmer and day labor who enlisted shortly after the beginning of the Civil War. He was from a town in the northwest of Illinois called Dixon. His army record showed he was never absent from duty for any reason. He had served his time in the Union Army and reupped. Carr was killed by Confederate fire while charging up Kennesaw Mountain.
Willie Johnson, Kennesaw Park historian said, “I don’t know of another instance where a volunteer devoted so much time and persistence to accomplish this kind of thing.” Quinlin says, “We used to sit around and say, how cool it would be to find the identify of the unknown.” From there he began his research that went on for 5 long years. Through a lucky break he was pointed toward detailed records kept by a chaplain and quartermaster sent from up north after the war. Here was information used to re intern Union soldiers buried at the Marietta National Cometary. Carr would have been buried with them but was missed.
Quinlin said part of his interest came from the fact that his own great great grandfather was a Union soldier who fought in the battle of Vicksburg in 1983 and wound up being buried in a anonymous grave on the battlefield. Quinlin said, “These men fought and they died, Don’t we at least owe them a name?”