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Nancy in Pulaski County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

A National Cemetery System

 
 
A National Cemetery System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
1. A National Cemetery System Marker
Inscription.

Civil War Dead

An estimated 700,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War between April 1861 and April 1865. As the death toll rose, the U.S. government struggled with the urgent but unplanned need to bury fallen Union troops. This propelled the creation of a national cemetery system.

On September 11, 1861, the War Department directed commanding officers to keep “accurate and permanent records of deceased soldiers.” It also required the U.S. Army Quartermaster General, the office responsible for administering to the needs of troops in life and in death, to mark each grave with a headboard. A few months later, the department mandated interment of the dead in graves marked with numbered headboards, recorded in a register.

Creating National Cemeteries

The authority to create military burial grounds came in an Omnibus Act of July 17, 1862. It directed the president to purchase land to be used as “a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of their country.” Fourteen national cemeteries were established by 1862.

When hostilities ended, a grim task began. In October 1865, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs directed officers to survey lands in the Civil War theater to find Union dead and plan to
Soldiers' Graves, City Point, Virginia, c. 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
2. Soldiers' Graves, City Point, Virginia, c. 1863
Close-up of middle left image on marker
reinter them in new national cemeteries. Cemetery sites were chosen where troops were concentrated: camps, hospitals, battlefields, railroad hubs. By 1872, 74 national cemeteries and several soldiers’ lots contained 305,492 remain, about 45 percent were unknown.

Most cemeteries were less than 10 acres, and layouts varied. In the Act to Establish and to Protect National Cemeteries of February 22, 1867, Congress funded new permanent walls or fences, grave markers, and lodges for cemetery superintendents.

At first only soldiers and sailors who died during the Civil War were buried in national cemeteries. In 1873, eligibility was expanded to all honorably discharged Union veterans, and Congress appropriated $1 million to mark the graves. Upright marble headstones honor individuals whose names were known; 6-inch-square blocks mark unknowns.

By 1873, military post cemeteries on the Western frontier joined the national cemetery system. The National Cemeteries Act of 1973 transferred 82 Army cemeteries, including 12 of the original 14, to what is now the National Cemetery Administration.

Reflection and Memorialization

The country reflected upon the Civil War’s human toll---2 percent of the U.S. population died. Memorials honoring war service were built in national cemeteries. Most were donated by regimental units, state governments
Knoxville Cemetery Plan, 1892 image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
3. Knoxville Cemetery Plan, 1892
Close-up of diagram on marker
and veterans’ organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic. Decoration Day, later Memorial Day, was a popular patriotic spring event that started in 1868. Visitors placed flowers on graves and monuments, and gathered around rostrums to hear speeches. Construction of Civil War monuments peaked in the 1890s. By 1920, as the number of aging veterans was dwindling, more than 120 monuments had been placed in the national cemeteries.

(Middle Left Image Caption)
Soldiers’ graves near General Hospital, City Point, Va., c. 1863. Library of Congress.

(Diagram Caption)
Knoxville was established after the siege of the city and Battle of Fort Sanders in 1863. Cemetery plan, 1892, National Archives and Records Administration.

(Upper Right Image Caption)
Lodge at City Point, Va., pre-1928. The first floor contained a cemetery office, and living room and kitchen for the superintendent’s family; three bedrooms were upstairs.

(Lower Right Image Caption)
National cemetery monuments, left to right: Massachusetts Monument, Winchester, Va., 1907; Maryland Sons Monument, Loudon Park, Baltimore, Md., 1885; and Women’s Relief Corps/Grand Army of the Republic Monument to the Unknown Dead, Crown Hill, Indianapolis, Ind., 1889.
 
Erected by U.S. Department of Veterans
Lodge at City Point, Virginia, pre-1928 image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
4. Lodge at City Point, Virginia, pre-1928
Close-up of upper right image on marker
Affairs - National Cemetery Administration.
 
Location. 37° 4.106′ N, 84° 44.248′ W. Marker is in Nancy, Kentucky, in Pulaski County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 80 0.2 miles from State Highway 235, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is located in the Mill Springs National Cemetery 100 feet east of the main entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9044 Kentucky 80, Nancy KY 42544, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mill Springs National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); "A Hard March" (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); a different marker also named A Hard March (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Defense Line (about 500 feet away); Balie Peyton, Jr. (1833-1862) (approx. 0.8 miles away); "Battle on a Sabbath Morn" (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Union Line at the Fence (approx. 0.8 miles away); Fix Bayonets - Charge! (approx. 0.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Nancy.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
 
National Cemetery Monuments image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
5. National Cemetery Monuments
Close-up of lower right image on marker
Mill Springs National Cemetery (L) and<br>A National Cemetery System (R) Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
6. Mill Springs National Cemetery (L) and
A National Cemetery System (R) Markers
View to East from Cemetery Entrance Driveway image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
7. View to East from Cemetery Entrance Driveway
View to West from Cemetery Driveway image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
8. View to West from Cemetery Driveway
The 1869 limestone wall on left
The Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O'Hara image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 9, 2015
9. The Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O'Hara
A metal marker of this poem is located next to the Mill Springs National Cemetery and A National Cemetery System markers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 124 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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