Samuel Weaver (holding open book at right) supervising African American laborers in the exhumation of the grave of a presumably Union soldier who died in Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1864. The soldier’s remains were to be relocated to Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday (June 26, 1819 – Jan. 26, 1893). He was a U.S. Army officer and Union general in the Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war and saw combat action at Second Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam. He had a vital role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he continued to serve in the Army and even obtained a patent on a cable car railway. He left the Army in 1873 and became a lawyer. Doubleday is often credited with inventing baseball.
Though military headstones are relatively simple in their design, they can yield a surprising amount of information. In this set of slides, Amy Johnson Crow shares a bit of the history behind military headstones in the U.S., what they can tell us, and clues to look for in other types of tombstones.
Their remains sat, unmarked, in shallow graves at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Va., for decades. Now, two centuries after the Civil War, the bodies of 40 Confederate soldiers discovered over the past two months will receive a proper memorial.
"It's been very meaningful to us to find these spots, identify these soldiers and bring closure to families," said Ted Delaney, the cemetery's assistant director, who, along with a team of archaeologists, uncovered the exact resting place of some 40 Confederate soldiers as well as the plots where Union soldiers were once buried and later exhumed.
The Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, placed a marker next to the grave of the son of Revolutionary War Col. John Thomas Jr. at 11 a.m. Saturday, march 24, 2014, at the Shiloh Cemetery in St. Clair County, Illinois.
There were five groups in uniform: the Sons of the American Revolution, Society of 1812, Union and Confederate Sons and a group of Civil War re-enactors, who conducted black powder gun salute.
Descendants of Col. Thomas attended, along with Stephen Korte, of Belleville, who did research on Thomas for his Eagle Scout project.
Here is a biography of Col. John Thomas Jr., provided by the Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution:
Col. John Thomas Jr. was born May 26, 1751. He grew up in South Carolina, living first at Fishing Creek on the Catawba River, then, beginning in 1762, on Fair Forest Creek in the Upper or Broad River District. The area had to be defended constantly from marauding Cherokee Indians and other allied tribes. Just when it seemed a decade of self-defense had brought some peace and stability to the upper Piedmont, the Revolutionary War broke out in the northeast and swept southward.
1. Arlington National Cemetery is located on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s confiscated estate.
Days after resigning from the U.S. Army on April 20, 1861, to take command of Virginian forces in the Civil War, Robert E. Lee left the Arlington estate where he had married Mary Lee and lived for 30 years. He would never return. After Virginia seceded from the Union on May 23, 1861, Union troops crossed the Potomac River from the national capital and occupied the 200-acre property and house that been built by George Washington Parke Custis, Mary’s father and the step-grandson of George Washington. After Mary Lee, confined to a wheelchair, sent a representative instead of appearing personally to pay a $92.07 tax bill, the government seized the property in 1864. With Washington, D.C., teeming with dead soldiers and out of burial space, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs formally proposed Arlington as the location of a new military cemetery. On May 13, 1864, 21-year-old Private William Christman of Pennsylvania, who had died of peritonitis, became the first military man buried at Arlington. To ensure the house would forever be uninhabitable for the Lees, Meigs directed graves to be placed as close to the mansion as possible, and in 1866 he ordered the remains of 2,111 unknown Civil War soldiers killed on battlefields near Washington, D.C., to be placed inside a vault in the Lees’ rose garden.
2. A Supreme Court ruling in 1882 could have resulted in the exhumation of 17,000 graves.
More than a decade after Lee’s death, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. government had seized his estate without due process and ordered it returned to his family in the same condition as when it was illegally confiscated. If followed, the ruling could have required the exhumation of all of Arlington’s dead, but instead Lee’s son officially sold the property to Congress for $150,000 in 1883.
GEORGETOWN — With the passing of almost 150 years since the end of the Civil War, there has been only one Confederate memorial in Delaware. A granite memorial, almost 14 feet tall, was placed on the grounds of the Nutter B. Marvel Museum in Georgetown in 2007.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans “Delaware Grays” Camp No. 2068 in Seaford, the United Daughters of the Confederacy “Caleb Ross” Chapter No. 2635 and the Georgetown Historical Society sponsored the construction of the monument. The cost of the memorial was underwritten by private organizations and donations, with no public or governmental sponsorship.
“Up until the Delaware Confederate Monument was placed here, there was not a single Confederate memorial in Delaware,” said camp adjutant John Zoch. “The only mention of a Confederate serving from Delaware is on a monument in Gettysburg.”
“We did this to honor the brave Delaware Confederates that left their homes and state to serve and fight for the South,” said Jeff Plummer, camp commander. “We have researched names of individuals from Delaware who served, and their names are inscribed on the monument.
“Though Delaware was a border state historically, New Castle County was pro-North and Kent and Sussex counties were pro-South. Obviously there were split loyalties within the state. Delaware was a slave state, and the majority of slaves were in Sussex County, a county tied to the economy of the rural South.”
North and South share cemeteries
The Seaford-based camp had initially requested the monument be placed on the grounds of the Gov. William H. Ross Mansion and Plantation in Seaford. The historical group there said the monument was not in keeping with the rural character of the site. Ross, whose name is among the 140 names presently cut into the stone, aided the Confederacy, and his son, Caleb, died while in Confederate service.
As for the granite, it was mandated that it come from a quarry in the South. Samuel “S.J.” Disharoon of Salisbury Monument said he personally made the 1,320-mile round trip to the quarry in Georgia to get the gray stone. According to Disharoon, the custom-cut stone memorial weighs about 28,000 pounds.
Unknown Confederate soldier buried in Gray, Maine. Mistakenly sent to the parents of Lt. Charles H. Colley of the 10th Maine by mistake. A short time later the body of the body of Lt. Colley was located and sent as well to his parents.
Not knowing what to do with the unidentified Confederate and the government distinctly not wanting him back, it was decided to bury the body in the little cemetery at Gray.
Later, a group of ladies of the town Many of whom had by this time had lost husbands and sons in the war- took up a collection to mark the grave of the lonely soldier buried so far from home.
This simple granite stone stands today almost in the middle of this cemetery, inscribed simply,
"Stranger. A soldier of the late war, died 1862. Erected by the Ladies of Gray,"
When a formal Memorial Day was instituted , the women of Gray placed a Confederate flag on his grave. Members of the G.A.R. Continued placing a Confederate flag on the grave till it was taken over by the Sons.
A Dream of His Dead Confederate Teen-age Son Lead Him to His Body
“During the War Between the Sates, among the beardless boys who enlisted in the Confederate army was the 18-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, of Griffin, Ga. This brave boy met his death in the Battle of Resaca on the Western and Atlantic Railroad. His comrades buried him in a pine coffin constructed of rough planks torn from a bridge.
“In 1866, when peace had spread her wings over the land, Mr. Jackson, after receiving instruction from a comrade of the dead boy relative to the location of the grave, went to the battleground at Resaca for the purpose of moving his son’s remains to Griffin. But although a thorough search was made, the place of burial could not be found, and the broken-hearted father returned home.
“A few nights afterward he dreamed that his son came back to him, and, standing by the bedside, said, ‘Father, I am buried under a mound which was thrown up by the Yankees after I was killed. You will know the mound when you see it by the pokeberry bushes growing upon it. Go and take me up and carry me home to Mother.’
“So strong was the impression made on Mr. Jackson by his dream, he returned at once to Resaca, taking with him one of the comrades who had buried his son.
“The mound was found with the pokeberries growing upon it as described in the dream. An excavation was made revealing a rough pine coffin a few feet below the surface of the Earth. It contained the body of young Jackson. He was fully identified not only by the coffin, but by his shoes, a recent gift from his father, and by the name marked on his clothing.
“The remains of the young soldier were placed in a fine casket and ‘carried home to Mother.’”
Smithsonian / AP Anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide, right, and Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, center, and others, examine the remains of an iron coffin at the museum in Washington.
The rusty iron coffin stubbornly resisted hammer and chisel as researchers in a warm Smithsonian laboratory sought a glimpse of an American who lived more than a century and a half ago.
An electric drill, its orange cord snaking around the pre-Civil War artifact, finally freed the lid.
"This is a person and we want to tell this person's story. She is our primary obligation," anthropologist Doug Owsley said as the lid was lifted to reveal a young body wrapped in a brown shroud.
The scientists hope to identify the remains so they can have a properly marked grave. In the process, they have a chance to learn about mortuary practices of the period, what disease and trauma people may have suffered, their diet, past environments, clothing and perhaps even social customs.
Based on the small size, they had expected the coffin to contain a female body. On examination, it turned out to be a boy, about age 13.