Sep. 23—CARTERSVILLE — Marietta's Max Moon found the idea for his Eagle Scout project almost by accident — and as is tradition with Eagle projects, with a hand from his dad.
"My dad was on a hike with some friends, they were doing a hike down here," Moon, a senior at Sprayberry High School, told the MDJ. "They saw this site, and it was not really looking great. It was in need of some love."
What Moon's father, Stephen, had stumbled upon was a long-neglected tomb and memorial for an unknown Civil War soldier. Tucked against a railroad line off a two-lane road near Lake Allatoona, Moon recalled the spot as being overgrown with weeds, with rust spreading over the fencing around the grave.
Other Scouts, he recalled, had done "in my terms, ordinary projects. They built benches and gazebos and things. It really interested me to do something out of the ordinary and something special."
Thus, Max Moon set about restoring the grave, and then some. The Scout connected with Dale Cox, a Florida-based historian who'd written a history of the site some 10 years ago.
According to Cox's narrative, there are varying accounts of how the soldier ended up on the site with the "unknown" moniker. But Cox says the young man was a Confederate soldier serving under Gen. Samuel G. French, and was slain during the fierce fighting in the Battle of Allatoona Pass in 1864.
It's believed the soldier — who was wearing a gray uniform in his coffin, hence the assumption he was a Confederate — was originally buried alongside the railroad tracks. In 1950, he was moved to the present location, and the fence and sign reading "AN UNKNOWN HERO" were added.
"There's a little sign that says the soldier died on the spot, but he was moved down along the railroad tracks," Stephen Moon said.
Part of Moon's restoration was sharing the lost history of the site with the public, and he had Cox's entire narrative emblazoned on a permanent plaque (to read the narrative, visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/allatoona3.html).
Along with the plaque, Moon and a crew of fellow Scouts spent several weekends excavating a wall around the site, restoring the paint on the old fence, and hacking back the brush which had overtaken the space. His project wrapped up in June of this year.
Moon said the reception from neighbors to the site has been positive.
"Once I told them what we were doing, they thought it was a great, great idea — to help out the community and keep this story alive," Moon said.