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Disrespect Of The Remains Of Confederate Dead At Arlington

A Sign Commanding Silence And Respect At Arlington National Cemetery Virginia

Disrespect Of The Remains Of Confederate Dead At Arlington -  The federal government did not permit the decoration of Confederate graves at the cemetery- Miegs refused to give families of Confederates buried there permission to lay flowers on their loved ones’ graves, families barred from the cemetery.

Confederate military personnel were among those initially buried at Arlington. Some were prisoners of war who died while in custody or who were executed as spies by the Union, but some were battlefield dead. For example, in 1865, General Meigs decided to build monument to the Civil War dead in a grove of trees near the flower garden south of the Robert E. Lee mansion at Arlington.

The bodies of 2,111 Union and Confederate dead within a 35-mile (56 km) radius of the city of Washington, D.C., were collected. Some of the dead had been interred on the battlefield, but most were full or partial remains discovered unburied where they died in combat. None were identifiable. Although Meigs had not intended to collect the remains of Confederate war dead, the inability to identify remains meant that both Union and Confederate dead were interred below the cenotaph he built. The vault was sealed in September 1866. Other Confederate battlefield dead were also buried at Arlington, and by the end of the war in April 1865 several hundred of the more than 16,000 graves at Arlington contained Confederate dead.

The federal government did not permit the decoration of Confederate graves at the cemetery, however. As Quartermaster General, Meigs had charge of the Arlington cemetery (he did not retire until February 6, 1882),  and he refused to give families of Confederates buried there permission to lay flowers on their loved ones’ graves. In 1868, when families asked to lay flowers on Confederate graves on Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day), Meigs ordered that the families be barred from the cemetery. Union veterans’ organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR; whose membership was open only to Union soldiers) also felt that rebel graves should not be decorated. In 1869, GAR members stood watch over Confederate graves at Arlington National Cemetery to ensure they were not visibly honored on Decoration Day.  Cemetery officials also refused to allow the erection of any monument to Confederate dead and declined to permit new Confederate burials (either by reburial or through the death of veterans).

The federal government’s policy toward Confederate graves at Arlington National Cemetery changed radically at the end of the 19th century. 


From: thecivilwarparlorthecivilwarparlor.tumblr.com

Arlington Cemetery- Confederate Monument

Arlington Cemetery- Confederate Monument

The fallen figure of a woman, also representing “The South”, leans on a shield emblazoned with the words “The Constitution” as a symbol of what the UDC believed the South fought for.

A figure representing “The South” stumbles while clutching a shield representing the Constitution of the United States on the south face of the Confederate Monument at Arlington National Cemtery in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. Mineva, goddess of war, supports her. American historians agree that many of the civic wounds created by the American Civil War were healed by the feelings of common cause generated during Spanish-American War. In June 1900, the U.S. Congress passed legislation setting aside Section 16 of the cemetery for the burial of Confederate States of America war dead. Many Confederate dead were already buried at the cemetery, and were memorialized by the Civil War Unknowns Monument. But the new area of the cemetery would allow for individual burial of those whose identities were known.

By December 1901, 482 Confederate remains were disinterred at the cemeteries at Alexandria, Virginia; the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, D.C.; and portions of Arlington National Cemetery and reinterred in concentric circles in Section 16. Their headstones were given a pointed top, to indicate that they were Confederate graves. 

Shortly thereafter, the United Daughters of the Confederacy asked that a memorial to the Confederate dead be erected in Section 16. Secretary of War William Howard Taft granted the request on March 4, 1906. Confederate veteran and nationally-known sculptor Moses Ezekiel was commissioned to design and sculpt the monument. It was cast and manufactured by Aktien-Gesellschaft Gladenbeck of Berlin, Germany. 



from: thecivilwarparlorthecivilwarparlor.tumblr.com

The battlefield cross

Kathleen Golden

Carved wooden temporary grave marker of Lieutenant Charles R. Carville, a member of the 165th New York Volunteers who died at Port Hudson May 27, 1863, during the American Civil War. Division of Armed Forces History, Nation Museum of American History.

The first appearance of the "battlefield cross" is a matter of conjecture. It might have been during the Civil War, to signify a dead soldier to be gathered and buried during a truce called for that purpose. Soldier dead were buried in graves in temporary cemeteries near the battlefields, identified by simple wooden plaques. The configuration of the rifle pointed downward with a helmet perched on the stock was a more common sight during World War I and World War II. While the battlefield cross still acted as marker so that the Graves Registration Service personnel could remove the body for burial, it also began to serve as a memorial. Although it is called a cross, the memorial has no overt religious context.

Read more at: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/battlefield-cross

Waterloo teen seeks to honor Civil War vets


Belleville News-Democrat

WATERLOO, Illinois — One hundred veterans of the Civil War are buried in cemeteries in or around Waterloo. But it would be hard to find them all, because some don’t even have headstones. 

However, Shane Douglas, 15, a sophomore at Waterloo High School, hopes to change that. For his Eagle Scout project, he plans to mark all 100 graves with die-cast bronze markers. 

“Civil War veterans’ graves are getting so worn off from all the elements that you can’t read them,” said Shane, who is a history enthusiast. 

He wants to make sure they get the recognition they deserve. 

Read more at: Belleville News Democrat


The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901


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The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901

Remembering the 1876 incident where a gang of men tried to steal his fathers body, Robert Lincoln wanted to ensure that no one would ever be able to disturb the resting place of his father. So he ordered that the coffin be placed in a cage some ten feet below ground and encased in concrete. The body was exhumed in 1901…This is the recounting of what happened…

In 1928, one of the witnesses who viewed the body, J. C. Thompson, said: “As I came up I saw that top-knot of Mr. Lincoln’s, his hair was coarse and thick, like a horse’s, he used to say, and it stood up high in front. When I saw that, I knew that it was Mr. Lincoln. Anyone who had ever seen his pictures would have known it was him. His features had not decayed. He looked just like a statue of himself lying there.” Another witness, Fleetwood Lindley, who was just thirteen when he saw the body, was the last of the twenty-three witnesses to pass away. Just before his death in 1963, he said in an interview: “Yes, his face was chalky white. His clothes were mildewed. And I was allowed to hold one of the leather straps as we lowered the casket for the concrete to be poured. I was not scared at the time, but I slept with Lincoln for the next six months.”

Credit for the condition of Lincoln’s body must go to undertaker Dr. Charles D. Brown, of the firm Brown and Alexander. Assisted by Harry P. Cattell, Brown embalmed the president’s body, first draining Lincoln’s blood through his jugular vein. Then, an incision was made in his thigh and the embalming fluids were pumped in, hardening the body like marble. Brown and Cattell then shaved the president’s face, leaving behind a tuft on the chin. They set the mouth in a slight smile and arched his eyebrows. They then dressed the president in his suit. The condition of Lincoln’s body supported the claims made in a Brown and Alexander advertising flyer, which touted the benefits of their patented embalming procedure over other methods of preserving bodies: “…the mortal remains will be kept in the most perfect and natural preservation, and that cherished countenance looked at once more, by those who may be led to remember and repeat these holy words of consolation: ‘He is not dead but sleepeth,’ until we meet again in a better world.”


Photo Credit : http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln13.html

From the CivilWarParlor on Tumblr

Stealing Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated In 1865, His Final Burial Didn’t Come Until 1901- The Plot To Steal The Corpse Of Abraham Lincoln

A band of Chicago counterfeiters hatched a plot to steal the President’s body from its tomb outside Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for a ransom of $200,000. A paid informant told the newly formed Secret Service. When both the police and the criminals showed up at the cemetery on the appointed night, the scheme was foiled. The coffin was moved and stored in various discreet locations in the cemetery over the following years. Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, decided to encase the president’s coffin in steel and concrete to prevent future disturbance.

Before the final interment, workers re-interring the president decided it was necessary to once again view Abraham Lincoln’s remains to prevent  rumors that the body was not Lincolns, in the soon to be permanent grave.

Two plumbers, Leon P. Hopkins and his nephew, Charles L. Willey, chiseled an oblong piece out of the top of the lead-lined coffin. The piece these two men cut out was just over Mr. Lincoln’s head and shoulders. When the casket was opened, a harsh, choking smell arose. 23 people slowly walked forward and peered down. Mr. Lincoln’s features were totally recognizable. His face had a melancholy expression, but his black chin whiskers hadn’t changed at all. The wart on his cheek and the coarse black hair were obvious characteristics of Mr. Lincoln’s. The biggest change was that the eyebrows had vanished. The president was wearing the same suit he wore at his second inauguration, but it was covered with yellow mold. Additionally there were some bits of red fabric (possibly the remnants of an American flag buried with Mr. Lincoln). All 23 people were unanimous in their agreement that the remains were indeed those of Abraham Lincoln.

The frequent embalming required for the deceased president’s seven-state funeral procession probably accounted for the impressive extent of the corpse’s preservation. Witnesses unanimously agreed that the coffin contained Lincoln’s remains.

The coffin was placed in a steel cage, buried 10 feet below the ground, and encased in concrete—permanently interred in a monument befitting Lincoln’s status. There Abraham Lincoln remains, at rest only after his coffin was moved 17 times and opened six. His final resting place, located in Oak Hill Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, is and will continue to be one of the most sacred of historical landmarks in the United States.

Credit and original source: http://wafflesatnoon.com/abraham-lincoln-corpse-at-rest/

Credit and original source: http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln13.html

Oak Ridge Cemetery renovation


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The final resting place of Abraham Lincoln has recently received a major renovation that will allow visitors of the 150 anniversary of his funeral to enter Oak Ridge Cemetery through the original gate through which the hearse and coffin came in 1865.

The original funeral procession came through an entrance on the east side of the cemetery along First Street that was closed after a new entrance through Monument Avenue had been established.

The original wooden archway over the entrance deteriorated over time and has been replaced with one made of brushed aluminum textured to look like wood. The original dirt entrance road is now a concrete walkway with a gate and bollards that can be opened and closed for foot traffic. 

The restoration project involved more than $200.000 in donations of materials and services by 14 local companies as well as a $25,000 grant to the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association made it possible to turn the rusted, aged and largely forgotten iron gate into the entrance that long ago marked the final chapter in a two week train ride to bring Abraham Lincoln home.

From Allthingslincoln on Tumblr

Messinger Cemetery Memorial Dedication




The mission of making sure that eight men who answered the call to patriotism and service of the United States was not forgotten Saturday as a crowd braved temperatures in the low 30s to celebrate their memories and legacy.

The event was the dedication ceremony for the Veterans Monument at Messinger Cemetery at 3450 Old Collinsville Road near Swansea.

The monument is in honor of the eight veterans buried in the cemetery:

John Messinger, who served in the Blackhawk War; Pvt. John Altman, Pvt. H.B. Bevirt, Pvt. William A. Isaacs, Cpl. Daniel J.M. Phillips, Cpl. George D. Rittenhouse and Pvt. William H. Rutherford, who served in Company 1, 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War; and F1C John E. Neill, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War I.

Continue reading "Messinger Cemetery Memorial Dedication" »

Headstones for veterans unmarked graves

(Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer)

By Brian Albrecht, The Plain Dealer 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The recent introduction of a bipartisan bill by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) to provide headstones for historic unmarked veterans graves came as welcome news to state and local historians.

The "Honor Those Who Served Act of 2014" would enable veterans service agencies, military researchers, historians or genealogists to request a free headstone or marker from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a veteran's grave.

Until 2012 the VA provided headstones for unmarked veterans' graves based on documentation of that vet's identity and service provided by these groups or individuals.

Continue reading "Headstones for veterans unmarked graves" »

Group brings honor to Civil War soldiers.

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Art Holliday, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - A local genealogy organization is pleasantly surprised it successfully lobbied the Department of Veterans Affairs for a group of soldiers who no longer have a voice.

Newschannel 5 first met Sarah Cato in April 2013 at a meeting of the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society. The group's goal: come to the rescue of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry, Missouri slaves who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War.

Continue reading "Group brings honor to Civil War soldiers." »