Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery
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 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.
On May 30, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic decorated Union and Confederate graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Thirty years later President
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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Patriots & PatriotismWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #25 William McKinley, and the National Cemeteries series lists.
Location. 40° 3.521′ 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
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 158 times since then and 18 times this year. 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.