By Joe F. Head
According to Mr. Robert White, former station master of the Cartersville Depot, and the late colonel Thomas Spencer, journalist and historian, there are actually two unknown graves in the Allatoona Pass area. Both were originally located by the former track bed, but on opposite sides and within the same vicinity. Each are thought to be confederate soldiers and have been a topic of documented confusion for a century regarding identity and location.
The less known grave lies within the pass on the east side of the original track bed and has no marker. It is assumed this confederate was buried a few days following the Battle of Allatoona. According to records, a body was shipped to the depot via the W&A R.R. and tagged “Allatoona, Georgia,” but with no name or message regarding its origin of shipment. The body was not claimed and in a bad state of decay.
After two days, six ladies from the community buried the body considerably north of the depot, about two-thirds of the pass distance off the east side of the tracks approximately 100 yards down a wide drainage ditch on the high southerly bank. The Abernathy family of Cartersville is credited with the lesser known burial. Unfortunately, this grave has practically been lost to the countryside because it is not maintained by the railroad and has been repeatedly disturbed by relic hunters. (The author is a relative of the Abernathy family.)
The more visible grave was originally dug exactly where the soldier died, toward the northern entrance and a few feet west of the tracks. Local historians believe this is the gravesite of Private Andrew Jackson Houston of Co. 135th Mississippi Regiment, who fell during the Battle of Allatoona. In the late 1940’s the railroad relocated and moved the grave approximately one-half mile south of the pass, a few yards west of the existing tracks. Relocation was considered necessary in anticipation of the lake construction. This grave is maintained by the railroad and is the best known of the two unknown heroes.
© 1992 Joe F. Head
For more information about this historic battlefield, see: