- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

EGGLESTON, Va. (AP) Ninety-two years since his death, a Confederate soldier has received a proper military burial by descendants celebrating a revived interest in their family roots.
Hiram Tracy Jones, a veteran who returned to his Green Valley farm after the Civil War, never got a Confederate funeral when he died in 1909, 44 years after the war ended.
A few years ago, Jones' great-great-grandson Lewis Gregory Nichols of Check, Va., heard about Jones' Civil War days at a family reunion. Mr. Nichols was fascinated by the family legend.
"I said, 'I've got some absolute, solid Confederate history that runs in my veins,'" he explained. Mr. Nichols joined a group of re-enactors and delved into his family's past.
He found out that Jones was near his mid-30s when he went off to war. He belonged to what became known as French's Artillery Battery, which "repulsed a number of federal assaults" on Richmond, according to a book called "The Giles, Alleghany and Jackson Artillery" by Keith Bohannon.
Jones was one of three persons in his battery who claimed to have fired the last shot at Appomattox in 1865, Mr. Bohannon wrote. Soldiers from other units also claimed to have fired that shot.
"Who pulled the lanyard" that fired the cannon, "we may never know," Mr. Nichols said.
Over the years, Jones' family grew and spread around the country. Last weekend, some came back to see their ancestor receive the honors he earned so long ago.
Descendants laid Confederate wreaths over the graves of Jones and his wife, Christina Echols Jones.
Confederate re-enactors from the 1st Stuart Horse Artillery fired two cannons in a six-gun salute that thundered across Green Valley. Mr. Nichols manned one of the cannons a job similar to his great-great-grandfather's.
"This is just a great way for Americans to know what their historical past is and keep and preserve their historical past as accurate as possible," Mr. Nichols said.
Estelle Woodbury, part of the Jones clan that stayed in Virginia, said she wasn't crazy about war re-enactments.
"I married a Yankee, so we don't fight the Civil War," said Mrs. Woodbury, Jones' great-granddaughter. "But this is my ancestral home, so I'm here."

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