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May 31, 2021

At Chattanooga National Cemetery, Where White Privilege Lies Buried Under The Sacred Sod
[Buck Throckmorton]

National Cemetery - 1.JPG

Beneath the sacred sod at Chattanooga National Cemetery, more than 12,000 Union soldiers from the Civil War lie in eternal rest, over 4,000 of whom are unknown. Buried far from home, they gave their lives to make our country a more perfect union. They died at places with names such as Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge, and Kennesaw.

Where their armies advanced, the evil institution of slavery crumbled behind them. Where they died, enslaved people were freed. Where these heroes were buried, so was any notion of white privilege.

One of these 12,000 men was William C. Youmans (shown as “Yaumans” in some old records.) Mr. Youmans enlisted in the United States (Union) Army on August 21, 1862 in the town of Erwin, NY, an upstate hamlet near Elmira. He mustered in as a Private in Company E of the 141st New York Infantry. He would never return home to New York.

In October 1863, the 141st found itself just west of the besieged city of Chattanooga, where Union troops were surrounded. The 141st first engaged in combat at the Battle of Wauhatchie, a critical Union victory that helped re-open supply lines to the Union troops trapped in Chattanooga.

The next month, Private Youmans and his brothers in arms fought at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. With Union victories in those battles, the Confederate army was now in retreat into Georgia.

The promise of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became action as Private Youmans and his comrades battled. As the men of the 141st fought and died under the American Flag, black Americans who had been enslaved were now realizing the promise of emancipation. Across every acre the Union Army covered as it moved further south, another acre was permanently liberated from the awful institution of slavery. Many of those acres were soaked in blood – the blood of white men who died so that their enslaved brothers and sisters could be free. Whatever white privilege these men had, it bled out on the battlefield.

In the ensuing months, Private Youmans and the 141st Infantry kept moving south, battling at Resaca, and at Kennesaw, and moving ever closer to Atlanta. Behind them, a large swath of northwest Georgia was now rid of the institution of slavery, while many of the men of the 141st were now resting in the loving arms of their creator.

In what is now the Buckhead section of Atlanta, Private Youmans was wounded at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, 1864. He suffered a severe wound to the shoulder and was transported to a Union hospital back in Chattanooga. Private Youmans died in Chattanooga on August 21, 1864, exactly two years to the day after he enlisted. He lies in eternal rest at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

National Cemetery - 2.JPG

God bless Private Youmans. God bless the American heroes of all races and ethnicities who fought under the American Flag to preserve the Union and to end slavery. And God bless all of those patriots, from Lexington and Concord until today, who have paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

(buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com)

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:59 AM

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