I made another mistake that was brought to my attention almost immediately after posting my previous blog entry. My editor got an email from the press contact for the civil war event notifying us that the creek beside the monument is misidentified in my article.
I called it Auxvasse creek
in my lede.
Every account of the battle of Moore’s Mill that I read or heard from the reenactors mentioned that it was next to Auxvasse creek. It seemed completely obvious to me that the men would have also been buried next to Auxvasse creek. So I didn’t ever bother to ask anyone if the creek that I could see was in fact Auxvasse creek.
It wasn’t. Auxvasse creek is less than a mile away and on the other side of where the battle happened. The mass grave sits beside a smaller stream called Dyers Branch.
Arguably, my lede could still have been accurate, depending on how far you think smoke from cannons can drift before it is totally dissipated. But that is another issue entirely.
The point is, I made a faulty assumption and didn’t verify it. But I learned an important lesson from this almost insignificant mistake.