When I was a kid cast iron markers like the one illustrated above were located all over the cemeteries throughout Itawamba County, but today it is rare to come upon one of these original markers. The iron marker above was photographed earlier this fall in an old remote cemetery of the county.
These markers were originally distributed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the families of Confederate veterans during the late 1880’s and 1890’s. Hundreds of these markers were sold to United Daughters of the Confederacy, United Confederate Veterans and Sons of Confederate Veterans family members to install on the graves of their departed loved ones who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. These iron markers originally sold for about $12.
They were made of cast iron and attached to an anchor spike. They were hammered into the ground, with the marker resting at ground level. One side of the marker (pictured above) has a laurel wreath and the inscription Deo Vindice (With God As Our Vindicator) and the dates 1861 and 1865.
It was not until 1929, with the passing of Title 38 Chapter 23, Section 2306 by Congress, authorizing the Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army, that government monuments were generally erected for the Confederate dead. However, earlier during 1906 an act was passed authorizing the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries.