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Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot

 
 
Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
1. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
Inscription.  
Civil War Dead
An estimated 700,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War (1861-1865). 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 officers to keep "accurate and permanent records of deceased soldiers." Federal authority to create military burial grounds came in an Omnibus Act of July 17, 1862. 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 remains. About 45 percent were unknown.

The U.S. government established soldiers' lots at private cemeteries in northern states. National cemeteries, in contrast, were built throughout the South where most Civil War action occurred. While the army reported dozens of lots containing Union dead in the 1870s, the National Cemetery Administration maintains only fifteen. The number of graves ranges from less than ten to nearly 400 in these lots.

Harvey

Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
2. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
Mourners at Alexandria National Cemetery, Virginia, c. 1865. After 1873, standard marble headstones replaced the wood headboards seen here. Miller, Photographic History of the Civil War (1910).
U.S. General Hospital
In spring 1862, Wisconsin Gov. Louis P. Harvey traveled south to visit the state's volunteer soldiers who were being treated in hospitals near the fighting. On April 19, while crossing from one boat to another at Savannah, Tennessee, Harvey fell in the river and drowned. After his death, Harvey's widow, Cordelia, was appointed the state sanitary agent. Mrs. Harvey worked tirelessly to provide for Wisconsin's troops during the Civil War.

She toured hospitals in the South and saw the appalling conditions soldiers endured. In 1863, she persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to establish a general hospital in Madison. Harvey U.S. General Hospital opened in a three-story octagonal house built for former Gov. Leonard Farwell. A branch hospital at nearby Camp Randall was also set up. In December 1864, the complex reported that it was treating 587 patients. After the war, the general hospital became the Wisconsin Soldiers' Orphans' Home.

Soldiers' Lot
The City of Madison purchased land in 1857 to establish Forest Hill Cemetery. Section 34 of this 140-acre cemetery, set aside for Union dead in 1862, was initially known as "Soldiers' Rest." Its 240 interments include troops who died while training at Camp Randall. The remainder died at Harvey U.S. General Hospital. The city deeded the 0.36-acre lot to the federal government in 1866. The

Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
3. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
Orphans' Home, 1870. It closed in 1874, after the last children had aged out of care. Wisconsin Historical Society, WHS-2690.
government acquired a second, smaller parcel in Forest Hill Cemetery in 1908.

The soldiers' lot contains two Civil War memorials. The Wisconsin Soldiers' Orphans' Home Monument was erected in 1873. The marble obelisk is inscribed with the names of eight orphans who died at the home. Flanking it are the children's graves marked with headstones bearing their initials.

In 1891, the Woman's Relief Corps No. 37 erected a large boulder inscribed "To the Unknown Dead." The corps - an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans organization - was founded in 1883 to perpetuate the memory of the men who saved the Union.
 
Erected by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
 
Location. 43° 3.943′ N, 89° 25.771′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. The marker is in front of the Soldiers' Lot which is 2 "blocks" from the main entrance to the left of the mausoleum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Forest Hill Cemetery, 1 Speedway Rd, Madison WI 53705, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Forest Hill Cemetery & Effigy Mound Group (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Forest Hill Cemetery (about 500 feet away); Site of Former Greenbush Cemetery Burials (approx. 0.2 miles away);

Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
4. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
Forest Hill Cemetery plan, soldiers' lot shaded green. Undated photograph of "Soldiers' Rest." National Archives and Records Administration.
In Memory of Our Beloved Sons (approx. 0.3 miles away); Aldo Leopold House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bradley-Sigma Phi House (approx. half a mile away); Hoyt Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edgewood (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
 
Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
5. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
6. Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot Marker
To the Unknown Dead By Woman's Relief Corps 1891
Wisconsin Soldiers' Orphans' Home Monument image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
7. Wisconsin Soldiers' Orphans' Home Monument
Dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
8. Dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic
Presented by National Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic 1937
Soldiers Lot image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, 2019
9. Soldiers Lot
Veterans Administration 1930
 

More. Search the internet for Forest Hill Soldiers' Lot.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 18, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 3, 2020, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 3, 2020, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin.   7, 8, 9. submitted on January 17, 2020, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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