Chattanooga is Final Resting Place of Five Civil War Generals

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - by Harmon Jolley

Chattanooga area cemeteries are the final resting places of many Civil War veterans.   The area became known for the battles that occurred, for the National Cemetery established  in 1863, and for its industrial growth following the war.  Each of those provided reasons that so many former soldiers are interred here. photographer Wes Schultz captured images of the headstones of five Civil War generals who are buried in the area.  Much more information is available on each of these men.  The following is a summary.


Francis Marion Walker (1827-1864; burial site at Forest Hills Cemetery in St. Elmo)

Walker was a native of Paris, KY and served in the Confederate States Army.  He fought at the battles of Shiloh and Stones River.  One day before his commission as brigadier general became effective, he was killed in the Battle of Atlanta.


John E. MacGowan (1831-1903; burial site in the older section of Chattanooga Memorial Park in Red Bank).

Born in Ohio, John MacGowan entered the Union Army as a private and rose through the ranks.  After the war, he settled at Chattanooga and became a lawyer.  He later served as editor of The Chattanooga Times.


John T. Wilder (1830-1917; burial site at Forest Hills Cemetery)

Wilder grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York.  Before the war, he was an inventor of several hydraulic machines.  He enlisted in the 1st Indiana Battery when the Civil War began in April, 1861.  Wilder led troops at Shiloh, Tullahoma, and Chickamauga, where he became known for his Lightning Brigade.  Following the war, he established ironworks at Chattanooga and Rockwood.  Wilder was elected mayor of Chattanooga in 1871, but left the following year to return to private business.  He later became commissioner of the Chattanooga-Chickamauga Military Park.  Wilder Tower is named for him.


Timothy R. Stanley (1810-1874; burial site at National Cemetery)

Stanley was born in Hartford, Ct.  He served with the 18th Ohio Infantry, and fought with the Union Army as they pushed southeast into the Confederate States through the battles of Nashville, Stones River, Tullahoma, and Chickamauga.  Following the war, Stanley was in the ironworks and banking business.


William P. Sanders (1833-1863; burial site at National Cemetery)

Sanders was from Frankfort, KY.   A West Point graduate (though not a model cadet), he served with the Union Army.  He was a cousin of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis.  Sanders died in the Siege of Knoxville.  A Knoxville fort was renamed for him.  Today, that area is the Fort Sanders neighborhood of Knoxville.


Many other former Civil War soldiers of all ranks are at eternal rest in the Chattanooga area.

If you’re visiting the Chattanooga area during the 150th commemoration of battles here, please send me an e-mail at and let me know your home town.


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