Pausing By Our Unknown Dead, Memorial Day 1861 To 1865

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#1
grave.jpg

Maybe this photograph of men remembering this fallen soldier has an ID somewhere. I can't find it and we can't see what is written on a rough headboard. There's what looks to be a well trodden path leading into this field, what looks to be a camp far into a field across the road but we don't know where the farm may be. Maryland? Virginia? Pennsylvania?

And yes I realize there was no official Memorial Day in 1861. Everyday between those famous Aprils was Memorail Day.

graves city point hospital.JPG

Graves near City Point's hospital, unsure what year. Primitive paths bisect crowded row upon row upon row. Closest to the camera are a horrifying amount of unnamed graves, maybe a wooden board here and there. Perhaps a kind of key existed, wooden markers added later. Maybe not. You would like to stop by each one with a wreath and last goodbye anyway. We remember you, soldier.

Our family tragically is not unique. Men went to war, some never came home. It wasn't until reading of the bloody shambles clashing armies left in war's wake it was possible to understand why we have no graves to visit. They died and what was left of them buried where they fell. JPK is an unknown in New York's section of Gettysburg's National Cemetery, his brother Sam lies unmarked at Shiloh, another has no headstone in Richmond, Calvin. To see my grgrgrandmother's brother David Adams, killed near Iverson's Pit, you have to imagine who lay under the plethora of Unknowns under a Pennsylvania marker and David Steigerwalt's grave at Goose Creek is lost except for a description and small map another soldier made, now on display at Gettysburg College.

graves Gettysburg unfinished graves.jpg

One of our more famous shots, I think at least identified as men of Kershaw's Brigade. There's a missing headboard, someone's husband or father or or brother or son may never have been named. I don't care what that uniform's color may be. Blue cloth rotted along with gray under the earth at Gettysburg. Death has no winner.

graves sudley church bull run.JPG

It may be posed for maximum effect and it works because this should get us. Judging by bare trees and dead leaves this was taken only a few months after Sudley Church witnessed Bull Run, soldiers' graves marked with sticks- just sticks- driven into the ground by overwhelmed burial crews. Were these graves ever marked or moved? Probably not, bones from this day visible when more men died here in the next battle of Bull Run.

Our Unknown memorial guarded by decades of the living represents men fallen in all our wars and is a sacredly solemn place. For Memorial Day 2019 it seemed at least a gesture to go stand by the graves of these long dead soldiers too. Lest we forget.

Wanted to post this before Monday, Memorial Day 2019 and ask that other unknowns be remembered, too. Any photo or record from anywhere, please post. If it's a contemporary photo of an unknown ACW grave, please only use one taken by yourself?
 

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#6
Here is one of the luck ones, though remaining unknown. His remains were discovered in 1999 on Missionary Ridge, here in Chattanooga. He was laid to rest on April 21, 2001. The casket was draped with both U. S. and Confederate flag, and was borne on a caisson drawn by six horses. Taps were played and full military honors were given.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22259/unknown-unknown.

There is pictured the location marker where he was found, and another where he was buried. It says November 25th, 1863 [DOD] on the ridge-stone.

Lubliner.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
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#8
Thanks for adding that image from Bull Run @E_just_E , it's perfect for Memorial Day.


I can imagine that burial details were, indeed, overwhelmed at times.
They were. Once in awhile there's indignation over men buried in ' pits ', the mass burials, you know? Well, I have yet to read a veteran's account where dead enemies were treated disrespectfully although I'm guessing it happened. It was a big war. What you mostly read is sadness and respect for each other. Mass burials say, in our ridiculous Pennsylvania heat and humidity were necessary. Disease was rampant anyway post battle and something rarely mentioned is the horrendous smell those traveling there spoke of from miles away. It wasn't just horses, men quickly and imperfectly buried, men fallen and laying out in the heat until discovered added to it, be sure. I've read accounts where civilians became ill just from the air.

Those poor men, the fallen and those who buried them. It seems a good time to remember all of them.
 

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