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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery

 
 
Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2019
1. Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  
The Confederate Section
All of the Confederate prisoners of war buried here died in a Civil War military hospital in or near Philadelphia. All were originally interred near the hospital where they died. In the late 1880s, the dead were moved here from three Philadelphia cemeteries — Glenwood City, Odd Fellows, and Mount Moriah — and Rural Cemetery, in nearby Chester.

The War Department established Philadelphia National Cemetery in March 1885 and moved Union and Confederate burials here from several area cemeteries. The Confederate remains were placed in a single section without headstones.

In 1897, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in Philadelphia approached the cemetery superintendent about donating a monument to the Confederate section. The Union veterans' organization in Germantown, Pennsylvania, protested.

The UDC abandoned its plan for a grand obelisk; instead the obelisk was erected in the Confederate section of Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. Three years later, the UDC placed a small tablet memorial to 224 unknown Confederate dead at Philadelphia National Cemetery.

The
Marker detail: Citizens Volunteer Hospital, c. 1865 image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
2. Marker detail: Citizens Volunteer Hospital, c. 1865
Citizens Volunteer Hospital in Philadelphia was one of many facilities where Confederate prisoners captured at Gettysburg were treated.
Monument

The Commission for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead began documenting burials in July 1906. No one was able to explain to the Commission how the UDC arrived at the number of 224 unknown listed on the tablet. Few records accompanied the burials moved from Rural Cemetery, which had the greatest number of Confederate burials in the area. Many records were incomplete and documentation of remains removed to other states was contradictory. The Commission agreed that graves could not be matched with individuals.

In fall 1911, James T. Maxwell & Sons of Philadelphia completed the granite monument. The plaques affixed to the monument list the names of 184 Confederate prisoners that the Commission documented as being buried at Philadelphia National Cemetery. The UDC Philadelphia chapter held the dedication ceremony on October 12, 1912, the anniversary of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's death. The elaborate event featured music, hymns, prayers, poetry, and a stirring oration delivered by John Shepherd Beard, a notable Philadelphian. The ceremony ended with a thirty-gun salute and the playing of "Taps." According to newspaper accounts, some 1,000 people attended the unveiling.

Toward Reconciliation
On May 30, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic decorated Union and Confederate graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Thirty years later President
Marker detail: The monument dedication, 1911 image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Confederate Veteran, December 1911
3. Marker detail: The monument dedication, 1911
William McKinley proclaimed:
The Union is once more the common altar of our love and loyalty, our devotion and sacrifice… Every soldier's grave made during our unfortunate Civil War is a tribute to American valor… in the spirit of fraternity we should share with you in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers.

The War Department created the Confederate section at Arlington in 1901, and marked the graves with distinctive pointed-top marble headstones. Five years later, Congress created the Commission for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead to identify and mark the graves of Confederates who died in Northern prisons. Its mission was later expanded to encompass all national cemeteries that contained Confederate burials.

Four former Confederate officers headed the Commission over its lifetime. By 1916, it had marked in excess of 25,500 graves and erected monuments in locations where individual graves could not be identified.

In 1930, the War Department authorized the addition of the Southern Cross of Honor to the Confederate headstone.
 
Erected by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Cemeteries marker series.
 
Location. 40° 3.521′ 
Marker detail: Original Commission headstone (left) Headstone with Southern Cross of Honor (right) image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Original Commission headstone (left) Headstone with Southern Cross of Honor (right)
N, 75° 9.359′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Limekiln Pike and Haines Street (69th Avenue). Marker is located near the northwest corner of the Philadelphia National Cemetery grounds. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6909 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia PA 19138, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Philadelphia National Cemetery (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); U.S.C.T. Burials in the National Cemetery (about 400 feet away); Mexican-American War Monument (about 700 feet away); A National Cemetery System (about 800 feet away); In The Battle of Germantown (about 800 feet away); Address by President Lincoln (about 800 feet away); Village of La Mott (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Philadelphia National Cemetery
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesPatriots & PatriotismWar, US Civil
 
Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery Marker<br>(<i>wide view looking west</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2019
5. Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery Marker
(wide view looking west)
Confederate Monument in background
Philadelphia National Cemetery Confederate Monument (<i>about 45 yards west of marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2019
6. Philadelphia National Cemetery Confederate Monument (about 45 yards west of marker)
 

More. Search the internet for Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on July 10, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 25, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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