Memorial Ceremony Held for Corporal Silas Mercer WarrenBy BY GWYN GOODROW,
On Saturday, October 28, Corporal Silas M. Warren (1838-1911) was honored in a memorial service at Antioch-Steele Cemetery near Forest. Many descendants along with their friends and neighbors attended the ceremony. The event, hosted by the East Mississippi Greys Sons of the Confederate Veterans Camp #1666, marked the culmination of efforts by Bruce Warren, a great-great-grandson of Corporal Warren to secure a tombstone for the unmarked burial site.
The ceremony was called to order at 10:00 a.m. as bagpipe tones resounded across the quiet field. A three-flag color guard procession entered the cemetery from the south, marched along a marked ceremony path, and placed the flags near the program area. Piper Zoe Brumfield performed a beautiful rendition of “Dixie” as the ceremony opened.
Denise Barnes and Debby Warren placed a memorial wreath near the veiled tombstone. Terry McMillan offered the invocation prayer and Mississippi Division 1st Lieutenant Commander Conor Bond led the group in the pledge to the flag of the United States along with salutes to the State of Mississippi flag and the Confederate flag.
Bruce Warren shared the story of his heritage, his connection to Silas Warren, and how genealogy research enriched his knowledge. For 106 years, the unmarked grave was an anonymous grassy space. The Antioch-Steele Cemetery record book identified the plot as the burial site of Silas M. Warren, adjacent to the burial plot for his wife of 26 years, Gracy Ann Walters Warren.
With this information, Bruce Warren stepped in and secured a tombstone to mark the final resting place of his great-great grandfather. Even more, to honor the memory of his ancestor and his family heritage, Warren organized a dedication event and memorial service at the newly placed grave marker.
Bruce Warren is currently serving as Commander of the East Mississippi Greys SCV Camp #1666. The camp’s newest member, Ethan Warren was presented with his camp membership certificate and welcomed into the organization. Ethan Warren is the nephew of East Mississippi Greys SCV Commander Bruce Warren.
Jim Huffman of the Gainesville Volunteers then shared the history of Corporal Warren’s military service in the Hillsboro Rebels, which was the 36th Mississippi Infantry, Company F of the Confederate Army. This troop fought at such notable battles as Corinth, Farmington, Iuka, and the siege of Vicksburg. In the face of horrible tragedies, Warren survived and returned home to Scott County after the war ended.
Commander Warren recognized family members in attendance, presented genealogy connections, and described life during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Corporal Silas M. Warren and his wife are buried in the oldest area of the cemetery, only a few steps from towering cedar trees. “She was the sunshine of our home” is engraved on Gracy Ann’s tombstone, painting a picture that the passing years cannot erase.
Bruce Warren read an obituary from a 1911 edition of the Scott County Register, with insight into the years after the war when Corporal Warren served as county treasurer. Census reports indicate that Corporal Warren was a farmer into his 70’s.
The white headstone with black imprint was unveiled. The draped flag was folded and presented to Ethan Warren, the great-great-great grandson of Corporal Silas Milton Warren. The 7 Stars Artillery Captain Daryl Ladner performed the ceremony of the Last Libation at the head of the grave, in front of the newly revealed tombstone.
The SCV camp members and 7 Stars Artillery group presented a rifle and cannon salute. While the echoes of the artillery fire diminished and the smoke drifted away, Bugler Jim Hancock played Southern Taps, a melancholy tune often performed at military funerals to signal the end of the day for a fallen soldier. As the memorial event concluded, Piper Zoe Brumfield played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.
Three SCV members performed the Retiring of the Colors, while Brumfield played “How Firm a Foundation” as the closing bagpipe melody. Terry McMillan led the group in a benediction prayer, and Commander Warren offered a few final thoughts and then dismissed the attendees to a luncheon at the Antioch Primitive Baptist Church.
The East Mississippi Greys SCV Camp #1666 based in Forest hosted the event. The Gainesville Volunteers (SCV Camp #373) and the 7 Stars Artillery, led by Captain Daryl Ladner, assisted in the presentation of the program.