Saluting Estes: Confederate officer honored in DeKalb County | Gadsden Times

The names are familiar to those who know about the famed Battle of Chickamauga (aka Georgia’s River of Death): Union Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg; Longstreet, Polk, Stewart; Spencer rifles; Davis Cross Roads, Horseshoe Ridge, the Battle of Hoover’s Ridge, the Fight at Reed’s Ridge.

And in the beginning of it all was Col. William Newton Estes, a native of DeKalb County and the county’s highest ranking Confederate officer.

Estes (1821-1863) was one of five DeKalb County men who served as regimental officers during the Civil War. He was a member of the Third Confederate Cavalry and was killed in action on Sept. 17, 1863. He was survived by his wife, Christie McCampbell Estes, and eight children and is buried in the family plot in Lebanon Cemetery in DeKalb County.

The DeKalb Rifles Camp No. 1824 (Sons of Confederate Veterans) and the DeKalb County Chapter No. 1456 (United Daughters) held a ceremony Sept. 24 at the gravesite to honor Estes’ memory. Harold Bouldin was the keynote speaker; his topic was Estes’s military record.

Clay Stevens, Estes’ fourth-generation grandson, drove from Abilene, Texas to attend the ceremony. He brought a bottle of Texas soil from the grave of Estes’ widow to sprinkle on her husband’s grave.

Christie Estes had moved with the rest of the family to Texas following her husband’s death. She died and was buried there.

The battlefield was named the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park by Congress in 1890 and was formally dedicated in September 1895. It was the first national military park and would be followed by Shiloh, Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

Reflecting the desire to use the battlefield for military study as well as a memorial, the park was managed by the War Department, the predecessor to the Department of Defense, and was used as a training ground for the Army. In 1933, the National Park Service assumed control of the battlefield as part of a broader effort to consolidate management of federally preserved sites.

Source: Saluting Estes: Confederate officer honored in DeKalb County