A Confederate Major in a Yankee Cemetery
The Story of Major George Calhoun Pope
Among the rows of grave markers at the Covenant Greenwood Cemetery in Lebanon County (also known to locals as the Ebenezer Cemetery) is a simple gray headstone carved from granite. It's modest appearance is similar to that of any given 20th century marker in any given burial ground. Look a little closer and you will see that this headstone marks the final resting place of George C. Pope (1843-1913) and his wife Alice (1854-1935). Pass by this grave sometime around Memorial Day and you will see a tiny American flag, and the bronze emblem with its green patina denoting the grave of a veteran. Look a little closer and you will see that George C. Pope was a veteran of the Civil War. Look closer still, and you will see that George C. Pope did not fight for the Grand Army of the Republic-- but for the Confederated States of America.
This would be the grave of Major George Calhoun Pope, a Confederate officer buried in a Yankee graveyard.
September 26, 1913, was a sad day for many residents of Lebanon. For over twenty years George Calhoun Pope had been one of the best known residents of the city and his death, at the age of 70 due to complications from diabetes, was mourned by many.
Pope was born in Charleston, South Carolina and was the son of a prosperous merchant. He possessed an outstanding military record, serving with the highly-respected First Cavalry of the South Carolina Volunteers.
In the Confederate Army he held the rank of lieutenant and then captain. He fought in most of the great battles of the war and was wounded on more than one occasion. At the Battle of Gettysburg he lost two fingers and received a gash in the head from the butt of a rifle, which nearly proved fatal. He watched his brother die in the Battle of the Wilderness. As a result, he seldom spoke about his experiences on the fields of battle.
After the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox, Pope traveled to Baltimore to procure work. His career carried him to South America, and he spent several years in different countries before winding up in Cornwall, where he found work as a weighmaster at the famous iron furnaces there.
After several years at the iron furnaces he became a bookkeeper for Dr. Gloninger, working at his office at Ninth and Cumberland Streets until his death.
A large crowd turned out for his funeral, which was officiated by Rev. Nye. George Calhoun Pope was buried with full military honors, marking one of the few times in Pennsylvania history when a Confederate officer's body was borne to its final resting place by the blue-uniformed veterans of the Union army.