TN USCT Question: Cemetery for "Contraband General Hospital" at Memphis, TN?

lelliott19

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Does anyone know where the Contraband General Hospital at Memphis was located? And where a soldier who died there would have been buried? I'm trying to find the burial location for this 64th USCT soldier. I assumed the dead from all hospitals would have been removed to the National Cemetery? But I've searched on the VA site and he is not listed at Memphis National Cemetery. Any help appreciated.

Robert Cross, Co E, 64th USCT Infantry
Enlisted on November 18, 1863 at Corinth MS for 3 years. Enlistment papers show age 50; height 5 feet 3 ½ inches; black complexion; black eyes; black hair; by occupation a Farmer; born in Franklin, Alabama. He died of Small Pox March 16, 1864 at Contraband Hospital, Memphis, TN. Final statement shows he was issued $25 in clothing and paid through December 31, 1863.
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Additional info from other research:
Robert Cross born circa 1812 - 1817.
Wife: Judy Cross born 1822 - 1827.
Children:
Daughter - Agdaline or Agdalina Cross born about 1846.
Son - Royal Cross born about 1850.
Son - Ennis Cross born about 1855.
Daughter - Doferey, Dofeny, or Daphne Cross born about 1857.
Infant son - (name unknown) born about 1860/1861.
 
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I read USCT were interred in the national cemetery.........However Memphis had two historic colored cemeteries, Hollywood and Mount Carmel apparently neither were kept up or maintained by descendants and are in disrepair, have noticed the same with local colored cemeteries here.

Would it have been normal for a US soldier to be in a contraband hospital rather then an Army one? I could see a contraband hospital using civil rather then national cemeteries for its dead though.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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I don't mean to be argumentative but if I had to maintain all the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried I'd be frazzled. And log a lot of air miles.

I'm not sure about this but a whiff of memory tells me small pox cases might have been handled differently? Drat it, wish I could remember what I read. May be from one of the Sisters ?
 
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Not being argumentative either, but when the churches that originally used the cemeteries still exist, don't see how they end up forgotten....These aren't small private rural family cemeteries, but rather large public ones in cities...........
 
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lelliott19

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'm not sure about this but a whiff of memory tells me small pox cases might have been handled differently?
Yes, you're right. Small Pox cases were usually confined at a separate "Pest" hospital. But Robert was being treated at the contraband general hospital, where he died. I read that there were over 10,000 newly freed individuals in and around Memphis, so it seems strange that a soldier with Small Pox would be treated in the regular "contraband" hospital. Hopefully someone will know where the hospital was located and where the dead were interred.
 
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The union dead in Memphis and surrounds were re-interred at the National Cemetery but during the process in many cases their identification was lost. The National Cemetery at Memphis has the second highest number of unknown soldiers behind only Arlington.
 

Yulie

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Agree with roberts.

All soldiers were reinterred at the Memphis National Cemetery. I visited eight years ago and was astonished at the number of USCT unknowns. At that time, the staff was not helpful but things have progressed. I've visited many times since. If Pvt Cross is not listed on their roles, he is probably among the unknown. There were problems with keeping the identities during the reburial process in 1867. It's on my bucket list to locate the original cemeteries. Memphis is just now sticking its toes into its Union Civil War legacy. That said, if you want to do primary research, you should visit the Corinth Battlefield Unit as they maintain the burial records.

Also note that Pvt Cross was probably from Franklin County, Alabama, which is in the Northwest section of the state - not the Franklin near Tuskegee. Many folks were encouraged off plantations in that region and found temporary new homes at the Contraband Camp in Corinth, Mississippi. The Contraband Camp closed and folks mostly ended up in Memphis. The house were the Freedmen's Bureau and where Grant "thought out" Vicksburg exists on Beal Street. This is the neighborhood were many of the soldiers' families resided.

-Yulie
 
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lelliott19

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Thanks Yulie.
Also note that Pvt Cross was probably from Franklin County, Alabama, which is in the Northwest section of the state - not the Franklin near Tuskegee. Many folks were encouraged off plantations in that region and found temporary new homes at the Contraband Camp in Corinth, Mississippi.
Yes he was from Franklin - the county not the town. Can you please tell me more about this? Which regiments were in proximity and did this generally happen all at once or more over time? Was this in August/ September? 1862 or 1863?
If Pvt Cross is not listed on their roles, he is probably among the unknown. There were problems with keeping the identities during the reburial process in 1867.
Would it still possible to obtain a government marker? If he was buried as an unknown in the National Cemetery, does that prevent a named grave marker being obtained from the VA?
 

Yulie

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Thanks Yulie.
Yes he was from Franklin - the county not the town. Can you please tell me more about this? Which regiments were in proximity and did this generally happen all at once or more over time? Was this in August/ September? 1862 or 1863?

Would it still possible to obtain a government marker? If he was buried as an unknown in the National Cemetery, does that prevent a named grave marker being obtained from the VA?

I am working on the rolls from a specific USCT regiment and side-stepping into others that were garrisoned in Corinth. I haven't worked on it in a couple of months but will give you a break-down later. Basically, men were recruited from a broad radius surrounding Corinth from about April to December 1863. They were then deployed to Memphis. There was one USCT artillery unit that had men mostly from Alabama, and received that state's designation before it was federalized at as a USCHA. Franklin County remains pretty rural. The county seat is Russellville. Unfortunately, the courthouse burned down -- twice -- so probate records are not available. Bottom-line: I'll get back with you to specifically address your question. I recommend reading Peggy Allen Towns', Duty Driven: The Blight of North Alabama 's African Americans During the Civil War.

In regards to a headstone: Yes. Anyone can request a headstone. Being a direct descendant is no longer a requirement. Since Pvt Cross had family, I hope they can be found. I attended a ceremony on Sunday in Michigan for a soldier who died of sickness and was buried in a mass grave along a road in Baton Rouge, LA. He had no direct descendants but extended family arranged for a headstone and ceremony in his hometown. Another soldier was given a headstone in his hometown in July despite records indicating that he was buried in a unknown grave at the Memphis National Cemetery. So, go for it. Memphis National Cemetery is full (no longer doing burials) BUT since Pvt Cross is there as an unknown, maybe something can be done.

More later,
-Yulie
 
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Memphis was a hospital city during the war and I think that there were three different contraband hospitals...

Camp Dixie was on President's Island and had a facility called the Freedman's Hospital. It may have been in a tent since much of the camp consisted of tent housing early on. A second Contraband Hospital was close to Fort Pickering. It was in a brick house confiscated from a rebel widow. The Small Pox patients were kept in tents just outside the house. Fort Pickering was a long rambling earthen fortification which stretched from Beale Street south along the river to the Jackson Mounds (aka Chickasaw Mounds)...about a mile and a half long. It had at least one cemetery. The third hospital was located in Chelsea just north of the Pinch in what is now downtown.
 

CPT JB

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In my research of the the 60th USCTI you may want to research the commander and see if any records are in his personal papers. I found really useful information in the 1866 Report to the Adjustant General of Iowa. I was able to locate the regimental hospital. However, several of the soldiers I found medical records and death recorded but no burial information. These soldiers died on detached service. VA/National Cemeteries do not have any records on them.
 

CPT JB

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Does anyone know where the Contraband General Hospital at Memphis was located? And where a soldier who died there would have been buried? I'm trying to find the burial location for this 64th USCT soldier. I assumed the dead from all hospitals would have been removed to the National Cemetery? But I've searched on the VA site and he is not listed at Memphis National Cemetery. Any help appreciated.

Robert Cross, Co E, 64th USCT Infantry
Enlisted on November 18, 1863 at Corinth MS for 3 years. Enlistment papers show age 50; height 5 feet 3 ½ inches; black complexion; black eyes; black hair; by occupation a Farmer; born in Franklin, Alabama. He died of Small Pox March 16, 1864 at Contraband Hospital, Memphis, TN. Final statement shows he was issued $25 in clothing and paid through December 31, 1863.
View attachment 319338
View attachment 319337
Additional info from other research:
Robert Cross born circa 1812 - 1817.
Wife: Judy Cross born 1822 - 1827.
Children:
Daughter - Agdaline or Agdalina Cross born about 1846.
Son - Royal Cross born about 1850.
Son - Ennis Cross born about 1855.
Daughter - Doferey, Dofeny, or Daphne Cross born about 1857.
Infant son - (name unknown) born about 1860/1861.
I have run into the same problem with the 60th USCTI in locating USCT soldiers who died in the hospitals. The Civil War Medical Museum May have some resources or guidance. You may want to see if any Adjutant Reports for Tennessee, or for the State the unit was originally formed. I found some great information.
 
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