August 3, 2008

Civil War Soldier Saluted

By J.R. Welsh, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Aug. 3--GULFPORT -- While modern jets roared low overhead Saturday morning, a Civil War veteran received a proper grave marker in the Mississippi City Cemetery, 86 years after his death.

Luke Ward Conerly, who died at 81 in 1922, was buried next to his second wife when he died. He had been living at the Confederate Veterans' Home at Beauvior at the time of his death.

Conerly was buried with a makeshift, hand-lettered headstone, although his wife, Ida Mae Farmer, had a traditional stone at the same grave plot. The husband's new headstone resulted from efforts by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and a relative, Harold Connerly.

As a soldier during the Civil War, Luke Conerly enlisted in the 16th Mississippi Quitman Guards and served in the Army of Northern Virginia. He was twice wounded in battle, at Antietam in 1862, and the Battle of Spotsylvania, in 1864.

He later wrote a history book, edited newspapers, and practiced law.

Saturday, he received salutes from riflemen and a group of cannoneers in Confederate uniforms of gray and butternut brown. A group of about 60 family members and history buffs attended the service in the small cemetery.

"I'm so pleased there is a crowd," said Jerry Conerly of Biloxi, a distant relative of the ancient warrior.


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