A team of historians and scientists from Middle Tennessee hope to soon welcome home the remains of soldiers who died on foreign soil nearly 170 years ago.
Construction workers in Monterrey, Mexico unearthed the bones of more than a dozen men several years ago: US soldiers who died in in the Mexican-American war. Because of their location, where the 1st Tennessee Regiment fought and later set up camp in the 1846 Battle of Monterrey, historian Tim Johnson believes it’s likely they were volunteers from the midstate.
Johnson, who teaches at Lipscomb University, has been assisting a group from MTSU in the effort to cut through two nation’s worth of red tape so that the bones can be returned to Tennessee. He says word could come at any time now, so they’re ready, complete with a replica of the 1st Tennessee’s regimental flag.
Johnson says the group plans to meet the remains at the Nashville airport with a color guard. The bones will then lie in state, most likely on the MTSU campus. “These are fallen soldiers,” Johnson explains.
The MTSU Forensics Institute hopes to examine the skeletons, possibly even use DNA to identify individuals. And if they do turn out to be Tennesseans, Johnson says they might be laid to rest near the Mexican War Monument in the Gallatin City Cemetery.