I have sad news to relate, Walter I think is crippled for life. These were the chilling words which Parham penned following the bloody Battle of Second Manassas. Shot in both legs, Walter stayed behind in Warrenton, Virginia where the town’s women tenderly cared for his wounds. Uncle Newton, Walter’s father, journeyed to Virginia to be with his wounded son. However, the wounds were mortal, and Walter passed away in October of 1863.
According to the article “To Name the Fallen” Wall Dedicated in Warrenton Cemetery,
Six hundred Confederate soldiers who died in Warrenton field hospitals following the Battles of First and Second Manassas have rested in anonymity in the town’s cemetery since 1877, when their bodies were removed from their unmarked graves and reinterred beneath a granite shaft erected in their honor by the Ladies of the Memorial Association of Fauquier. Although each soldier had originally been identified by a wooden marker made by local schoolchildren, Union troops callously pulled up the makeshift headstones and burned them for firewood in the winter of 1863. The names of Warrenton’s Confederate dead were thus lost to history.
This was the case until, as the before mentioned article explains, 520 of 600 names were accidentally discovered in a misfiled box within the National Archives. On May 24, 1998, the United Daughters of the Confederacy Black Horse Chapter #9 memorialized the names, Walter S. Buford among them, on a wall erected around the already existing granite shaft.
Did Uncle Newton arrive before or after Walter’s passing?
Though not impossible, it is unlikely Walter’s remains could have been easily transported from Northern Virginia to Mississippi in 1863. Are conclusions made from National Archive records incorrect, and Uncle Newton arranged for Walter’s body to be transported back to Mississippi?
The wall in Warrenton indicates Walter died on October 1; the tombstone in College Hill shows October 2. Which is correct?
Did Uncle Newton stay in Northern Virginia long enough to see or learn of what Union soldiers had done to the wooden markers in Warrenton Cemetery? Did he, as a result, choose to have a Memorial Service for Walter among family and friends back home?
Was it common for tombstones of fallen soldiers to be erected in family plots at cemeteries far from where they fell?