Civil War Photo Contest
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- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
Monument in Stones River National Cemetery.
Since @Buckeye Bill Bechmann created a thread on Confederate States of America Cemeteries http://civilwartalk.com/threads/confederate-states-of-america-cemeteries.99188/page-7#post-1332354 I thought for Memorial Day there should be a companion one for U. S. National Cemeteries, at least those containing a goodly proportion of Civil War dead. Please feel free to add any I have omitted, or additional photos of those included here; my selection is by no means complete and is no particular order but is limited to those I've visited fairly recently and have suitable photographs from.
Stones River National Cemetery, Tennessee
The first truly National Cemeteries were created during the Civil War and were usually placed on or near, to borrow Lincoln's phrase, a great battlefield of that war. One such was that at Stones River outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where surviving members of Hazen's Federal Brigade had already created a plot with what is reputed to be the first Civil War monument (above) at its center on ground they had defended during the battle. The present cemetery is a little north of that plot between the Nashville Turnpike and railroad that served as the Union lifeline and on ground where the Federals had made their successful final stand. Postwar, the cemetery was enlarged and beautified by a Murfreesboro Reconstruction garrison consisting of the members of a regiment of United States Colored Troops. The cannon in the photo below is not merely for "decoration" - it marks the position of a Union battery during the battle.
Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, Virginia
One of the first and smallest is that on the field of one of the early battles of the war that occurred October 21, 1861, atop Ball's Bluff near Leesburg, Virginia. The tiny walled cemetery above contains the graves of a mere fifty-four soldiers, only one of whom was identified; his grave stands at the center of the arc of tombstones ringing the flagpole below.
Battleground National Cemetery, District of Columbia
Another tiny cemetery is the easily-overlooked Battleground National Cemetery in a quiet suburb of Washington, D. C., which contains the graves of the Federal fallen from Jubal Early's abortive "raid" on the capital in July, 1864, culminating in the Battle of Fort Stevens. There are only forty-three graves here: forty victims of the battle (including one who died long postwar but chose to be buried here with his comrades), and three family members of the original groundskeeper. As at Ball's Bluff, they are arranged in a circular formation around the flagpole below.
Winchester National Cemetery, Virginia
A larger cemetery placed on a field of battle is that at Winchester, Virginia, located on a portion of that of the third battle of that name to have occurred there. However, this cemetery was created to hold the fallen from all the nearby battles of the Shenandoah Valley including those from as far away as Port Republic, Cedar Creek, and many other places. Like many others actually located on battlefields, Union veterans chose it as a place to locate some of the monuments commemorating their service there, like that of the state of Massachusetts below.
Fayetteville National Cemetery, Arkansas
Like most U. S. National Cemeteries with available room, that at Fayetteville has largely been taken over by the graves of more recent veterans, particularly those of the World Wars and Vietnam. The oldest graves tend to be those nearest the flagpole, including that of an officer of U.S.C.T. in the foreground below.