An almost forgotten mass Union grave site in Shenandoah Valley

dlavin

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#21
I've been there. I recall a lot of private property between Cross Keys and Port Republic. I think it was Cross Keys, but I remember walking behind two houses to read a few wayside markers and a monument to a physician I believe...

But I too would like to know where these graves are, if anyone knows?
 

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#22
I've been there. I recall a lot of private property between Cross Keys and Port Republic. I think it was Cross Keys, but I remember walking behind two houses to read a few wayside markers and a monument to a physician I believe...

But I too would like to know where these graves are, if anyone knows?
I was there a few months ago and they have posted a few No Trespassing signs on part of the battlefield. From where I was I could see markers, but obeyed the signs and stayed put. Very aggravating.
 

TomP

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#23
Eerie similar to the lost Confederate Burial Trenches at Shiloh. Supposedly there were 12 known trenches at one time but over the years the locations have been lost though it is rumored the Park knows the locations of a couple of trenches but they may be on private land. Regardless, anywhere one goes in the Park today may have been or continues to be the grave of a forgotten soldier.
Regards
David
There are indeed more mass burial sites at Shiloh. It would be poor logic to assume that all of the Confederate dead were brought to the west of the battlefield for interment. They would be buried where there were the largest concentrations of dead so they would not have to be moved so far. The park does know the relative position of a few of the sites on the east side of the field, and Park Service archaeologists attempted to ascertain their location with ground penetrating radar. This was not successful as GPR merely shows where ground has been disturbed. The sites were once in fields but are now heavily wooded. Numerous trees have fallen, which pulls up large root balls of earth. If the park is not able to pinpoint the precise location, like the fives mass graves on the west side, there will not be any interpretive signs stating "They are over here somewhere."

In addition, the park is aware that there were numerous war-time burials in Corinth; far more than at Shiloh. After the war the government moved what Union graves they could find to the Corinth National Cemetery. Some were undoubtedly missed; the same NPS archaeologists looking for the mass graves at Shiloh found two Union graves at the site of Battery Robinett, very close to where the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center would be built. It is very unfortunate that the Confederate graves were not marked, but the federal government cannot hold all of the blame; the citizens of Corinth did not maintain the grave sites, nor did the state of Mississippi, and so they were lost. (An individual told me the citizens could not mark the graves because of the oppressive reconstruction occupation by USCT troops; there were actually only two companies of troops posted in Corinth and they were white. Records indicate it was a peaceful occupation.)

There were huge grave sites containing those who died from their Shiloh wounds or from disease during the siege. There were several burial sites, individual and mass, from those killed in the October '62 battle. (The captured Confederates who died from their wounds were, for the most part, buried in nearby Iuka.) Hood's men buried a number of soldiers as they passed through on the retreat from Nashville. Again, the location of many of these graves is known generally, but not exactly. And it is very unfortunate that nearly all of these locations have been affected by development. Well over a thousand Confederate belt buckles have been unearthed over the years with metal detectors, but the excavation sites were not marked. I once had a collector tell me had personally dug up over 350 buckles over the years. When I mentioned the probability that some of these were graves he became very angry and said he had never dug up a single grave. The soil in Corinth is very acidic. When the two graves were found at Battery Robinett they were identified because the two locations were carefully uncovered, millimeter by millimeter, until a layer of discolored soil was reached. Here were the buckles and buttons and a few accouterments, all within about a two foot area for each grave. The only thing that remained of the bodies, other than the discolored soil, was a few teeth, protected by enamel. There were no bones. An individual digging straight down would uncover the artifact and never even note the thin layer of soil, all that remained of a Confederate soldier.

There was once at least one mass Confederate grave on the hill adjacent to Battery Robinett; near the grave of Col. William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas Infantry. In 1894 a group of veterans came from town to clean up the area around his grave and they removed all of the soldiers from this mass grave. They took them 3/4's of a mile to the southwest and re-interred them in the southeast corner of the Corinth City Cemetery. The activity was recorded in the local newspaper but did not note how many soldiers were moved, and their new resting place was not marked either. After 32 years in the soil it is most likely they could not determine the exact number.

Tom
 

NH Civil War Gal

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#25
(An individual told me the citizens could not mark the graves because of the oppressive reconstruction occupation by USCT troops; there were actually only two companies of troops posted in Corinth and they were white. Records indicate it was a peaceful occupation.)
I didn't have time earlier to comment on this. Isn't this awful - I'm sure many more people believe the "rumor" vs. the truth of what you are saying Tom and the bitterness and ugliness just keeps on giving.
 

Ole Miss

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#26
Tom
Thank you for the great post and excellent information regarding the locations of various burial trenches. Would your comments regarding the acidity of the soil around Corinth also apply to the soil of the Shiloh Battlefield as well, would they not? I ask because of the rumors of the US government in the early 1900's had offered the UDC the option of removing the Confederate remains from the burial trenches to rebury elsewhere. If this story is true, would the knowledge that the remains would be virtually destroyed influenced the UDC to decline the offer?

I have always wondered how many soldiers were buried between Hurley and Corinth during the long painful journey for the wounded? I am sure there were some mass graves since the ground would have been so muddy and the Confederate Medical Corps being overwhelmed with the number of casualties.
Regards
David
 

TomP

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#27
I ask because of the rumors of the US government in the early 1900's had offered the UDC the option of removing the Confederate remains from the burial trenches to rebury elsewhere.
David,

This is not a rumor. Prior to the transfer of the park from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, in 1933, an offer was made to the Untied Daughters of the Confederacy to reinter the soldiers in the five marked sites, to a new cemetery to be established near the park. The Ladies expressed their desire to let the soldiers remain in their battlefield graves. Without a doubt, the condition of the bodies had to of been considered, and I am not unconvinced that this was no more than gesture of goodwill. Yes, the soil at Shiloh, particularly on the hill, or plateau, is no better than that at Corinth, and there may not have even been bones visible after seventy-one years.

I agree, there had to have been a number of graves along the Corinth Road during the Confederate retreat. I am sure there were a number of graves, or perhaps a Confederate created mass grave, near the hospital site by the Fallen Timbers site. Monterrey (Michie) would be the site of others as some of the troops paused there before continuing to Corinth.

Tom
 

James N.

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#28
1552415411060.png


Somewhere, I believe in the Shenandoah valley, there was a small battle or skirmish. This was written about in either Civil War Times or Civil War Monitor, but for some reason I'm leaning towards the Times. The author was documenting a grave site that wasn't marked but was a mass burial of about 20 or so Union soldiers that is all overgrown now and is getting forgotten...
"From time to time, people ask me if I have ever seen ghosts on the battlefield. No fewer than 150 , and possibly as many as 350 men, Union and Confederate, perished here on that fatal Sunday..."

Has anyone been there? Are there any preservation societies involved?
Although not large by Gettysburg, Antietam, Wilderness, etc. standards, Cross Keys was one of Jackson's larger Shenandoah battles:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/jacksons-valley-campaign-the-battle-of-cross-keys.114398/

Eerie similar to the lost Confederate Burial Trenches at Shiloh. Supposedly there were 12 known trenches at one time but over the years the locations have been lost though it is rumored the Park knows the locations of a couple of trenches but they may be on private land. Regardless, anywhere one goes in the Park today may have been or continues to be the grave of a forgotten soldier.
Regards
David
Here's a recent thread showing four of the five known burial trenches at Shiloh:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/confederate-burial-trenches-at-shiloh-nmp.147350/

1552415338489.png
 

NH Civil War Gal

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#29
I think the trenches are even more poignant in some special way than the unknowns. I can't fully explain it - the immediate grief is gone but the sadness is still there. But these weren't even places that most families could even hope to visit, unlike a National Cemetery, even if it was an unknown. And then all the unknown graves along the roadsides that are now known only to God.
 



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