For those seeking local lore and some of the area’s most valiant heroes, East Feliciana and its cemeteries are just reward. The La-Cemeteries website lists more than 150 cemeteries in the entire parish. The small town of Clinton owns a rich history of cemeteries that are home to Confederate heroes, and many families that helped build this region of Louisiana.
The Clinton Confederate Cemetery stretches four acres under a grove of shady oak trees. It is home to both Union and Confederate soldiers as the Clinton-Port Hudson Railroad brought wounded from the battlefields of Port Hudson and Jackson to Clinton’s Sillman Institute, once a girls school, and a military hospital during the Civil War. Many died of disease or battle wounds and Clinton became their eternal home.
According to a Geocaching website, infrared thermal imaging was done in 1999 and the number of soldiers buried in mass graves exceeds 400. It noted that there are approximately 345 marked graves, many early settlers of East Feliciana Parish.
The cemetery is located two blocks from the Sillman Institute, and near the historic Marston House. Henry Marston helped build Clinton’s thriving 19th century commerce industry. He also lived close to the railroad station and was one of the major investors of the railroad in 1837.
Convalescent soldiers rested inside the Marston home and it is said graffiti marks their signatures on the walls today. In the still of the night, Marston could hear the battery of naval guns pelting Port Hudson, and days after, the rumbling of the train. Sounds of the piercing whistle pulling into the station, its cars filled with thousands of soldiers laid to rest at the Clinton Cemetery, their headstones clearly visible from Marston’s back door.
For more info on traveling through East Feliciana Parish, visit their tourism website.
For more historic sites throughout the Feliciana Parishes visit the state website on the Port Hudson Historic Site. www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state- parks/historic-sites/port-hudson-state-historic-site/index