Civil War - Where They Rest . . .

by Barb Hyde, November, 2011

A-I J-Z (Veterans Index) Medal of Honor

I never could have taken all of these photos.
Many thanks to all of the people who have so graciously, even enthusiastically, allowed me to use their photos.

Note for use: click on links to go directly to more information. Click on any small photo to open a full-size photo.

The National Cemeteries where most of our Civil War dead are buried are listed here. Click a name to see pictures of the cemetery and read a little more about it.

Andersonville, GA
Arlington, Washington D. C.
Cold Harbor VA
Culpeper VA
Florence SC
Fredericksburg VA
Gettysburg PA
Marietta GA
Salisbury NC
Soldier's Home Cemetery, Washington D. C.


Undoubtedly many of Potter County's Civil War dead were originally buried where they died in shallow, unmarked graves. In fact, the mounting casualty count in the Civil War is what prompted the beginnings of our National Military Cemetery system. On July 17, 1862, Congress empowered President Lincoln “to purchase cemetery grounds and cause them to be securely enclosed, to be used as a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of the country.” The first national cemeteries were created as final resting places for Union soldiers who died during the Civil War.

In the years after the end of the war, selected staff from the Quartermaster Department were assigned to survey all places where Civil War deaths and determine the number of dead buried in makeshift graves. They spent four years walking nearly every inch of ground at major and minor battlefield sites, hospital and prison sites, entrenchment sites, along lines of march, and miles of shoreline in search of bodies. This program was commonly referred to as the Reburial Program or the Federal Reburial Program.

The National Cemetery Act of February 22, 1867 was the result of this survey effort. The act empowered the creation of national cemeteries near - where the hurried burials had happened - all of the major battlefields, hospitals, and prisons. All soldiers found were buried in new national cemeteries unless claimed by friends or family for private interment elsewhere. Some cemeteries, such as Andersonville and other prison cemeteries in the South, were created by nationalizing existing burial grounds. In these cemeteries the existing graves remained intact and reinterrments were added. Almost all of the cemeteries have large numbers of unknown soldiers graves - the graves range from individual through small group, to mass graves that contain hundreds of bodies.

The Federal Reburial Program ended in 1870 when all known makeshift burials and unburied bodies had been moved into National Cemeteries. At the program’s end, the remains of 299,696 Union soldiers and officers had been located and reinterred in 73 national cemeteries. Despite the best efforts by Quartermaster staff to find and identify all Union soldier remains, identification was made for only about 58 percent of the bodies found.

Note for the Potter County Soldiers list pages: Because it was unusual that a family would find the body of their soldier and reinter it in a home cemetery, when a soldier's record indicates that he died in the war - from battle or disease, I looked for a burial record in Potter County cemeteries and in the nearest National Cemetery. If I did not find either one, I entered the name of the National Cemetery with a ? in front of it as the most likely burial place. If I found the record, I have entered it in the Civil War list.

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 Last Update November 6, 2011

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