Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resouce for Confederate Cemeteries

The following article is by Melissa Shimkus and was published in the "Genealogy Gems Digest", Vol. 71, Issue 1. It is a publication of the Allen County Library.

The article deals with Confederate cemeteries--history and data sources.

Following the Civil War, the federal government created seventy-two national cemeteries for the burial of Union soldiers. In addition, in1879, Congress permitted Union veterans not entombed in these federal cemeteries to receive government headstones. No corresponding federal actions to provide grave sites or headstones for Confederate soldiers were legislated. Instead, these services were performed at the local level by the Confederate Memorial Association and other patriotic organizations, as well as by local and state governments. Records of these southern efforts are scattered and can be difficult for genealogists to locate and access.

One helpful source is "Confederate Cemeteries" volumes one and two by Mark Hughes. The set's title is a bit misleading because the first two volumes only cover cemeteries in Virginia, but more than 20,000 burials are listed including those of some two hundred Union soldiers and about twenty civilians. One example of a civilian burial included in this work is that of fourteen year old Nanie Horan, killed 15 March 1863 in the explosion of C.S. Laboratory, a gunpowder plant, and buried in Shockoe Cemetery in Richmond. Source material for these volumes included tombstone inscriptions, cemetery records, unpublished manuscripts and burial lists from patriotic organizations, local, state and national archives.

Introductory matter in the books includes a section on how to use them, keys to the sources, a history of post-war burial efforts, and descriptions of each cemetery covered. The lengthy list of burials in each volume is arranged alphabetically by the name of the deceased and provides each person's state, unit, date of death or burial and place of burial. For example, J.T. Bookout of the 7th Georgia, H. Saunders of the 4th Virginia, and Corporal Emory Cook of the 9th South Carolina died in the Confederate Hospital at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The final resting places of the first two men can be determined using the reference number key and cemetery descriptions provided by the author. Bookout's data notes that he died 17 November 1861 of disease and was buried in the Charlottesville Soldier's Cemetery. Saunders died in 1861 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville. Cook died 20 January 1862 of pneumonia, but no place of burial is given.

With no centralized collection of burial information for Confederate soldiers, a resource such as the "Confederate Cemeteries" volumes is important to genealogists despite its limited focus.

[The books are availble at the Largo Public Library: RGEN355 Hughes]

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