CHICKASAW COUNTY – Private John Wiggs was born Western Chickasaw County, fought in the Civil War and was one of the lucky ones who returned home and lived the rest of his life among family and friends.
There are still many Wiggs in that part of the county and many can trace their roots back to the man who was honored by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans with a memorial service and headstone dedication Saturday morning at Plesant Grove Cemetery.
“He would have been my great-great-grandfather,” said Eddie Wiggs, who was one of about 50 people who showed up for Saturday’s ceremony. “I’ve heard stories about him and I want to thank these people for honoring his heritage. It took several years for them to do their research and get the paperwork together to put up this marker.”
The Chickasaw Guard, 2nd Brigade, Mississippi Division of the SCV, turned out Saturday in period uniforms and flags to dedicate the marker to Wiggs.
“He joined the Confederate Army in Attala County and fought at Iuka, Corinth – near Shiloh – and later he went to Vicksburg,” said Wiggs. “He was captured in Vicksburg and when the war ended he came back home.”
Wiggs said John Wiggs then set about the business of farming and raising a family on the gentle rolling hills Chickasaw County.
Saturday’s event began – as do all Sons of Confederate Veterans marker dedications – with a prayer by SCV Mississippi Division Chaplain Rev. John T. Flippin.
The colors were posted by Company G, 15th Mississippi Infantry honor guard.
“This is a good crowd on a beautiful day,” said David Horn, Camp Commander of the Chickasaw Guard. “The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America.”
Horn said the preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight what he called the Second American Revolution.
“The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Horn. “These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.”
Saturday’s ceremony also saw the reading of the “Bonnie Blue Flag” by Pat Arinder and the singing of “Shenandoah” by Jasmine, a SCV re-enactor dressed as a Southern belle in a hoop skirt.
The marker was unveiled by the Wiggs family and Arinder closed out the dedication with the singing of “Dixie.”
The SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of Confederate soldiers. Organized at Richmond, Va., in 1896, the SCV continues to serve as a historical, patriotic, and non-political organization dedicated to insuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.
Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Membership can be obtained through either direct or collateral family lines and kinship to a veteran must be documented genealogically.