The old city cemetery in Warrenton appeared to be a scene from the 1800s last Saturday as local residents, history enthusiasts, Confederate re-enactors and family members of those buried there marked Confederate Memorial Day.
A special memorial ceremony honored the men of the 5th Georgia Infantry and several other units that were recruited from the Thomson area during the War Between the States.
Participants dressed in period attire and braved Saturday's temperatures in the low 90s to hear descriptions of the men buried and the hardships they fought, a powder rifle salute, "Auld Lang Syne" and "Amazing Grace" played by a bagpipe trio and a recitation by the Gray Poet, Phil Turner.
"I thought it was almost like it had been professionally choreographed, the way the Honor Guard came in carrying the flags, and the bag pipes started playing at the right time. All the pieces fit together very well," said Ben Willingham, who discovered his great-grandfather's gravesite there several years ago and cleaned up the cemetery.
The bagpipes were played by the Atlanta Pipe Band from Georgia Tech, and the gun salute and Honor Guard was by members of the Brigadier General E. Porter Alexander Honor Guard from Augusta.
Buried soldiers who were honored include Capt. Ed Pottle, Lt. James Shivers, Jim Bob Shivers, Thomas Shivers, Col. Joseph Wasden and Maj. William Britton Hundley.
"It's interesting that whenever I open a Thomson/Warrenton telephone book and read the names, I know them all because I recognize them from my research of soldiers of the 5th Georgia Infantry," Mr. Willingham said. "We are all related in some way."