Great find caused by meeting at National Cemetery

Matt Bolch, The Daily News Journal, March 31, 1989

A coincidental meeting at the Stones River National Cemetery led to a great find about the Park.

About four years ago while having a program at the cemetery, Superintended Don Magee noticed a falimy putting a pot of yellow mums on one of the graves.

Upon questioning the family, Magee learned they were descendants of Lt. Christian Nix, a member of the 24th Wisconsin Infantry. His record indicates he died because of a wound suffered during the Battle of Stones River.

Family members said they were in town to pay their respects to the deceased forefather.

“If we weren’t having a program at the time, we wouldn’t have known about it,” Magee said of the chance meeting.

Members of Nix’s family had the wooden headboard which marked his temporary burial place before his interment in the National Cemetery as well as a complete set of his military records.

The relics had been passed down through the generations and the mother of one of the relatives had recently died told the family to just burn the items because they were of no use to anyone.

Family members offered to send the items to Magee if he was interested in them. Magee readily agreed and the arrived soon thereafter.

Estimates put the value of the headboard, which was part of a fence before marking Nix’s grave, is $3,000.

But more importantly to Park officials, it is a substantial find in terms of historical significance.

Magee said park officials are always on the lookout for Civil War relics, especially those which are related to the Battle of Stones River.

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