Inscription. Federal authorities established a cemetery here for newly freed African Americans during the Civil War. In January 1864, the military governor of Alexandria confiscated for use as a burying ground an abandoned pasture from a family with Confederate sympathies. About 1,700 freed people, including infants and black Union soldiers, were interred here before the last recorded burial in January 1869. Most of the deceased had resided in what was known as Old Town and in nearby rural settlements. Despite mid-twentieth-century construction projects, many burial sites remain undisturbed. A list of those interred here has also survived.
By Roger Dean Meyer, January 15, 2007
|1. Freedmanís Cemetery Marker|
Erected 2000 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number E-109.)
Location. 38° 47.68′ N, 77° 2.962′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of South Washington Street (Local Route 400) and Church Street, on the right when traveling south on South Washington Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1001 South Washington Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Catholic Church in Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lost Village of Cameron at Great Hunting Creek (approx. 0.3 miles away); Battery Rodgers (approx. 0.3 miles away); World Wars to the Present (approx. 0.4 miles away); Prehistory to Colonial Settlement (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Emerging Nation (approx. 0.4 miles away); World War I-Era Rudder (approx. half a mile away); Alexandria Academy (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
By Roger Dean Meyer, May 13, 2007
|2. Wider view of the marker and the future park area.|
Regarding Freedmenís Cemetery. Until recently a gas station stood on the site, but it has been razed and archaeological work is now being conducted prior to establishment of the Freedmenís Cemetery Memorial Park on this site.
This site also boasted a very early projectile point, and as such is important to American Indians.
Also see . . .
1. City of Alexandria Press Release. “Freedmen were enslaved African Americans who fled north during the Civil War in pursuit of freedom. Thousands of Freedmen sought refuge behind Union lines in towns like Alexandria. They lived in crowded barracks and shantytowns hastily constructed to accommodate their swelling numbers. For many, the Freedmen's Cemetery was their final resting place.” (Submitted on July 17, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota.)
2. Freedmen's Cemetery. “When the Civil War broke out, enslaved African Americans had a better sense of where the conflict would lead than did the combatants themselves. Many predicted, as the inevitable outcome of an armed conflict between North and South, the "Jubilee," the end of slavery, when families would be reunited in freedom.” (Submitted on April 3, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
3. Alexandria [Va.] National Cemetery (Soldiers' Cemetery). At first, Black soldiers who died in Alexandria were buried at Freedmen's Cemetery, established for "contrabands" (liberated slaves) in February 1864. This appears to have been instituted at the insistence of the Superintendent of Contrabands, Black clergyman Reverend Albert Gladwin.
By Roger Dean Meyer, May 13, 2007
|3. Site construction explanation signage.|
|The City of Alexandria will develop this site into Freedmenís Cemetery Memorial Park. Freedmenís Cemetery (1864–1869) served as the burial place for about 1800 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape from bondage during the Civil War. Investigations have confirmed that intact burials remain on this property. The goal throughout the project is to insure than no burials are disturbed during park development. The memorial park will honor the memory of the Freedmen, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to the city.|
African-American soldiers recuperating at L'Ouverture General Hospital were outraged, and in December 1864 more than 440 of them signed a petition demanding that Soldiers' Cemetery be opened to Blacks: "To crush this rebellion, and establish civil, religious, & political freedom for our children, is the hight [sic] of our ambition. To this end we suffer, for this we fight, yea and mingle our blood with yours . . . as soldiers in the U.S. Army. We ask that our bodies may find a resting place in the ground designated for the burial of the brave defenders of our countries [sic] flag."
The petitioners prevailed. ... and Black soldiers joined their fallen White comrades at Soldiers' Cemetery. Those already buried at Freedmen's Cemetery were re-interred. ... (Submitted on April 3, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. American Indian, Children
Credits. This page originally submitted on July 17, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 2,429 times since then. Last updated on September 15, 2012, by BWS Johnson of Alexandria, Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 17, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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