“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Burying the Dead

The Battle of the Wilderness

Burying the Dead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
1. Burying the Dead Marker
Inscription. At battles end, more than 2,000 Union dead lay scattered through the Wilderness. The first major effort to bury the dead came more than a year later, when a Union regiment received orders to proceed to the Wilderness and inter those Union soldiers whose remains still littered the landscape.

For a week burial parties combed the woods, gathering up as many remains as they could find. They placed the bones in wooden coffins and buried them in two temporary graveyards; one near here beside the Orange Plank Road and the other on the Orange Turnpike. Wilderness National Cemetery #2, as this plot was called, held 534 bodies. Today shallow depressions in the ground are all that remain.

The cemeteries remained in existence only a short time. Concluding that it would be easier to manage one large cemetery rather than several small ones, the War Department transferred the Wilderness dead to Fredericksburg National Cemetery in the late 1860s.

Having collected all that a thorough search could discover, graves were dug….Ten skulls were placed in each coffin, which was then filled with bones - the lid screwed on, and...lowered into their last resting place, unknown, but not unhonored nor unsung.
Lieutenant William D.F. Landon, 1st United States Volunteer Veterans.
Erected by
Burying the Dead and other markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
2. Burying the Dead and other markers
Burying the Dead is one of a set of three markers at this location on the Wilderness Battlefield auto tour road.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Location. 38° 17.876′ N, 77° 42.877′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Orange Plank Road (Virginia Route 621), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in the Wilderness Battlefield section of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Battlefield, on Orange Plank Road (Route 621), about 1/2 mile west of Brock Road (Route 613). Located at stop seven of the driving tour of the Wilderness Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22551, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Flank Attack! (here, next to this marker); Longstreet Felled (here, next to this marker); James S. Wadsworth (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Vermont Brigade (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hell Itself (approx. 0.3 miles away); Horror on the Orange Plank Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); Valuable Crossroads (approx. 0.3 miles away); Echoes Homeward (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Spotsylvania.
More about this marker. The center of the marker displays two illustrations captioned, Artist George Leo Frankenstein made this watercolor of the cemetery
Fredericksburg National Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 9, 2007
3. Fredericksburg National Cemetery
The remains of the soldiers who died at the Battle of the Wilderness were ultimately laid to rest in this cemetery in the late 1860s.
(left) during a visit to the Wilderness in the late 1860s. A photographer snapped a picture of the cemetery interior (right) at approximately the same time.

Also see . . .  Battle of Wilderness. National Park Service summary of the battle. (Submitted on February 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
The Bivouac of the Dead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 9, 2007
4. The Bivouac of the Dead
The poem The Bivouac of the Dead is found in many national cemeteries, including Fredericksburg National Cemetery.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,464 times since then and 103 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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