“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

This “Precious Dust”

This "Precious Dust" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
1. This "Precious Dust" Marker
Inscription. When the Battle of Stones River ended on January 2, 1863, over 3,000 Union and Confederate soldiers lay dead. Most were buried in hastily prepared graves on the battlefield. In October 1865 soldiers from the 111th United States Colored Infantry began the arduous and gruesome task of disinterring the bodies of the Union soldiers and reburying them here in newly opened Stones River National Cemetery.

By April 1866 what Chaplain William Earnshaw called "the precious dust" of over 6,000 Union soldiers had been brought here for reburial. Included were not only soldiers killed at Stones River but others who had died elsewhere in Middle Tennessee. Of these, 2,562 are unknown. The Confederate dead, not eligible for burial in national cemeteries, were taken to their home towns or to public cemeteries in nearby Murfreesboro.

[These were] men who had given their lives for the country eager to strike the death blow to the rebellion, shouting and cheering as they passed to the front, where they fell in the van of the grand old Army of the Union, and now sleep beneath the green sod of our beautiful cemetery, on the immortal field of Stone's River.
Chaplain William Earnshaw

Chaplain William Earnshaw, first superintendent of Stones River National Cemetery, supervised the reburials of Union soldiers here in 1865-66. Stones
This "Precious Dust" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
2. This "Precious Dust" Marker
River National Cemetery was established in 1864 after Congress provided for the creation of the National Cemetery System on July 17, 1862.

(Background photo caption): Burial parties are shown at work in this 1866 photograph of the Stones River National Cemetery. The rounded mounds mark the graves of recently interred Union soldiers.
Erected by Stones River National Battlefield - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 35° 52.841′ N, 86° 25.993′ W. Marker is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in Rutherford County. Marker is on Old Nashville Highway, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located in the Stones River National Cemetery on the Stones River National Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Murfreesboro TN 37129, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stones River National Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Artillery Protects the Supply Line (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); U.S. Regulars Memorial (about 300 feet away); The Charge Kept Coming, Coming Like the Sea (about 400 feet away); Their Longest, Coldest New Year’s Eve
The Cemetery Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
3. The Cemetery Today
(about 400 feet away); Passing Through Murfreesboro (about 400 feet away); God has granted us a Happy New Year! (about 400 feet away); Why Fight Here? (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Murfreesboro.
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,017 times since then and 146 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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