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Gray Village Cemetery
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A Stranger is buried in the Gray Village Cemetery at the location displayed on the map below. This GPS information is ONLY available at BillionGraves. Our technology can help you find the gravesite and other family members buried nearby.
Memorial / Obituary / Personal History
|The Winona Daily News|
Saturday, May 28, 1955
Southerner in Northern Grave Is Honored Too
GRAY, Maine [AP]—The tombstone on the grave of an unknown Confederate soldier is marked "stranger." But the Southerner lies in a Northern grave among friends.
The people of Gray have decorated his grave for Memorial Day, just as they have since the body was shipped to Maine by mistake in the fall of 1862.
"It's one of the strange, untold stories of the Civil War," says Gray historian George T, Hill.
On the Southerner's grave is a pot of flowering geraniums. Over it flutters the Stars and Stripes.
The same honor is paid to veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic who sleep nearby.
There is a difference in the iron markers. On the Southerner's star is inscribed "Veteran 1861-65." On those of the Northern soldiers is marked "GAR Post 78. The Confederate soldier's body
arrived in Gray as that of Lt. Charles H. Colley, Company B, 10th Maine Volunteers.
"The lieutenant was the son of Amos and Sarah Nash Colley, farm people here, Hill recalled,
"He was wounded at Cedar Mountain, Aug. 9, 1862, and died the following Sept. 20 at Alexandria,
Va. He was 29.
"In those days, the family had to pay the government for embalming and transportation. The
Colleys had done this. When the body arrived, they opened the casket in farewell. Instead of their son, they found a fully uniformed Confederate soldier.
"You can imagine what the consternation and grief must have been like. However, as both communications and travel were slow at the time, it was decided to bury the unknown soldier in Gray cemetery." .
A tombstone was raised over the grave. It was inscribed: "Stranger—a soldier of the late war. Died 1862. Erected by the ladies of Gray."
The ladies were not an organized group. They were mothers and wives whose men had suffered in the war.
Lt Colley's body arrived a week later It is buried 100 feet away.
Historian Hill conjectures as to how the mistake was made. Both Lt. Colley and the Confederate may have been wounded in the same battle and hospitalized together.
Both must have died about the same time. There is a possibility, says Hill, that both were named Colley.
Life timeline of A Stranger