Civil War - Where They Rest . . .

by Barb Hyde, November, 2011

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

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.

Salisbury NC Prison and its National Cemetery

Photo from National Park Service


by Walter Wells

Salisbury National Cemetery was established in 1865 as a memorial to Union soldiers who died in Salisbury prison.

Located on 16 acres purchased by the Confederate Government November 2, 1861, the prison consisted of an old cotton factory building measuring 90 x 50 feet, six brick tenements, a large house, a smith shop and a few other small buildings. The first prisoners arrived in December 1861: 46 Bull Run POWs and 73 sailors. By November 1864, 10,000 prisoners were crammed into space adequate for several thousand.

The 85th NY Volunteers, including Co D which was raised in Potter County by Levi Kinney, was sent en masse to Andersonville when the Union forces holding Plymouth NC were forced to surrender on April 20, 1864. In the fall of 1864, all prisoners who were well enough to be moved were moved from Andersonville to the Florence and Salisbury prisons - only to die there.

The dead prisoners were buried in 18 trenches measuring about 240 feet long, located at the southeast end of the cemetery. Colonel Oscar A. Mack, the inspector of cemeteries, said in his report of 1870-71, "The bodies were placed one above the other, and mostly without coffins. From the number of bodies exhumed from a given space it was estimated that the number buried in these trenches was 11,700. The number of burials from the prison pen cannot be accurately known." The figure of 11,700 unknown Union soldiers was accepted for many years. More recent examination of government records indicate about half that many. We will probably never have an exact count.

Salisbury National Cemetery may be the final resting place for more Pennsylvania Civil War soldiers than any other National Cemetery. A hospital record from the prison contains the names of 3,504 prisoners who died in the hospital. Of these, 736 were Pennsylvanians. If this same ration is applied to the 11.700 unknown graves, the number of Pennsylvanians interred in this cemetery would be 2,457.

A raid by the forces of General George Stoneman (April 12-13, 1865) captured the prison which was burned to the ground.

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Soldiers Home National Cemetery

Photo by Janet Greentree


Photo by Steve Fermie

Soldier's Home National Cemetery was known during and after the Civil War as Military Asylum Cemetery. At that time what we would call Veterans' Homes were called Military Asylums. During the Civil War, the Military Asylum in Washington D. C., along with other hospitals and homes, was pressed into service as a hospital for soldiers wounded in the many battles in the area. The mounting number of deaths that filled the Asylum's cemetery led directly to the establishment of Arlington National Cemetery on the Robert E. Lee estate across the river and outside Washington D. C.

The Military Asylum was established in 1851 - the first such home in the U. S. In July of 1861, the Military Asylum offered 6 acres at the north end of the its existing small burial grounds as a burial ground for soldiers who died in Washington's many makeshift hospitals. From 1861 to 1864, 5,600 burials - 278 unknown - filled the little cemetery.

The six acres were filled in the Civil War - every available inch - even the road dividers contain graves. The Military Asylum that originally offered the burial place is still used today as a retirement home for U. S. enlisted men and women - the longest record of continuous service of any military retirement home.

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 Last Update November 11, 2011

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