African American soldier's grave found at Confederate Cemetery

Shaderick Searcy's grave found. (Stephanie Santostasi)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) -- Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery groundskeepers found the actual location of an African American soldier they didn't think they'd ever find.

An unexpected discovery.

"Nobody knew where he was," said Herb DeLoach, N.B. Forrest Camp 3,Sons of Confederate Veterans.

But, records show Shaderick Searcy was at the cemetery somewhere.

"Shaderick was instrumental in a lot of activities for the United Confederate Veterans. When he died, he was a confederate soldier and he had a place to be buried here," DeLoach said.

Searcy, born a slave, in Talbot County, Georgia. He started the war as a servant to two brothers, stayed with the Army of Tennessee until 1865 and then moved to Chattanooga in 1903.

Sons of Confederate Veterans member Herb Deloach says Searcy is one of the most prominent African American men buried in the cemetery.

"When he died, he was very active in the United Confederate Veterans," DeLoach added.

A grave marker showed Searcy's name and sat here in this cemetery since 1999.

However, it didn't mark the correct burial spot.

And no one knew where that spot was until, one day, crews were out restoring a stone wall.

"He kicked and he felt like it was a rock, and he was going to peel the rock up and throw it out, and the more he kicked - he starting uncovering this," said DeLoach.

The actual location of Searcy's body.

"I've cut this grass for six years, and run right over that spot and never seen it," DeLoach said.

But - now that he does Deloach says, he couldn't be happier.

"Oh, it's just great - you know? Everybody in the whole camp's really really excited about this," he said.

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