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Local couple thinks Civil War graves have been found on their property

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By The Staff

Owners of the old Jack Arnold House think their yard and pastures may be the home to more than just dry bluegrass.

Ben and Susan Breeding of Washington County believe their front yard and side pastures are home to about 340 full Civil War graves and possibly many burial sites for human limbs.

The Breedings, along with Sherry Robinson, a Kentucky Division officer for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, said the house was a hospital during the Civil War, and they believe limbs were pitched over the front porch after surgery.

The Breedings were told when they bought the house in 2006 that the yard possibly contained Civil War graves.

Robinson said one of the main keys to unlocking the mystery is finding out about Archibald Mayes, who owned the house during the time period of the Battle of Perryville.

Based on the evidence found so far, the Kentucky Archaeological Survey sent archaeologists Philip Mink and Donald Handshoe to survey the land with ground penetrating radar technology.

Ben Breeding doesn’t doubt the graves are there. Breeding, a retired chemical plant manager, has walked his property with dowsing rods.

Dowsing rods

provide clues

His explanation of dowsing rods is that metal such as steel can detect areas where water lines are and where human remains are buried.

The rods are held parallel to each other and can indicate where water or in this case a body is by crossing and uncrossing with no provocation from the rod holder.

Breeding has practiced using his dowsing rods, made from clothes hangers, at other marked cemeteries. He demonstrates the accuracy of the rods while walking over his water lines.

He claims that he can detect where the feet and head in the grave are located, as well as if the deceased is a male or female. According to his findings, all of the bodies buried in his field are male, furthering the explanation that it is a Civil War burial site.

Breeding believes the graves are located in two rows along the fence of his property. He said smaller but systematic burials are in the yard.

While digging around on the property, Robinson said they found what she thinks is a human finger.

The ground penetrating radar project was partially funded by the Perryville Enhancement Project, as well as the Kentucky Archaeological Survey and the Breedings.

Robinson said records show that during the Civil War the Army of Mississippi marched from Munfordville, bringing their wounded.

Time will reveal what lies under the Breeding property. It takes several weeks to get data back from the ground penetrating radar readings.

This story was originally published in the Danville Advocate-Messenger and is reprinted here with permission.