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Florence in Florence County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Florence National Cemetery

 
 
Florence National Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 2, 2020
1. Florence National Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  
National Cemetery
In 1865, the U.S. Army quartermaster general designated the original 3.76-acre prison cemetery as Florence National Cemetery. It contains not only the bodies of Union prisoners who died in Florence, but soldiers removed from Charleston, Cheraw, Darlington, and Marion, South Carolina.

By 1874, of the remains of 2,969 men here, only 168 were known. The federal government had erected a brick superintendent’s lodge, flagstaff, and two gun monuments. In 1877, a brick wall enclosed the cemetery. A second lodge was built in 1906, but the army removed it in 1970.

The secretary of war, by law, appointed a “meritorious and trustworthy” to manage and each cemetery. To qualify, an individual must have been an army enlisted man disabled in service. Phillip R.R.M. Sattes was the first superintendent at Florence. While a private in the 1st Kentucky Infantry (U.S.), Sattes was twice wounded in action.

”The Lone Woman’s Grave"
For decades, the only woman buried at this national cemetery was Florena Budwin—likely an alias. Purportedly married to a Union officer
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from Pennsylvania, Budwin disguised herself as a man in order to enlist.

She and her husband were said to have been confined at Georgia’s Andersonville Prison, where he died. She was moved with other Union prisoners to Florence in fall 1864. When she fell ill, the camp doctor discovered her secret. Budwin was moved into quarters separate from the men. Sympathetic women of Florence gave her food and clothing. After recovering, she remained at the prison as a nurse.

Budwin died in January 1865 and was buried here (Section D grave 2480). Her story fascinated the public, and it appeared in newspapers nationwide for years.

(sidebar)
Civil War Florence
When Atlanta fell to the Union Army in September 1864, Gen. William T. Sherman began his “March to the Sea.” Fearing the Union Army would free prisoners held in southern Georgia, Confederate authorities moved them . Some 10,000 Union prisoners of war were relocated to the unfinished Florence Military Prison in October.

A 16-foot tall log stockade enclosed the hospital, tents, and other simple structures. A swampy stream running through the 23-acre prison provided the only source of water.

During the six months the prison operated more than 25 percent of the 12,000 prisoners died. The bodies were buried in one of two nearby cemeteries. Former prisoner
Marker detail: The rebel prison near Florence, S.C. from the original 1864. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 2, 2020
2. Marker detail: The rebel prison near Florence, S.C. from the original 1864.
Florence Military prison 1864, by Pvt. Robert Knox Sneden, Virginia Historical Society
Robert H. Kellogg recalled:

[The dead] were piled one upon another until the wagon was filled. A party of prisoners was at work every day digging trenches where the bodies of the dead soldiers were to be laid.
 
Erected by U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, National Cemetery Administration.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Cemeteries & Burial Sites. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries series list.
 
Location. 34° 11.055′ N, 79° 45.207′ W. Marker is in Florence, South Carolina, in Florence County. Marker can be reached from East National Cemetery Road, 0.1 miles Stockade Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 803 East National Cemetery Road, Florence SC 29506, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A National Cemetery System (here, next to this marker); Carillon (here, next to this marker); Civil War Union Burials (within shouting distance of this marker); Dahlgren, IX-inch (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named A National Cemetery System (about 700 feet away); Brooke Rifled Cannon, VII-inch (about 700
Marker detail: Postcard view of the cemetery, c. 1923: national Achieves and records Administrati image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 2, 2020
3. Marker detail: Postcard view of the cemetery, c. 1923: national Achieves and records Administrati
feet away); Guns of the CSS Peedee (about 800 feet away); Brooke Rifled Cannon, VI.4-inch (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
 
Regarding Florence National Cemetery. The Florence National Cemetery is composed of two properties. The oldest portion is the original 1865 property, which was expanded by two acres in 1942. A new 19-acre area southeast of the older cemetery was established in 1984.
 
Marker detail: Left, National Tribune (Washington DC), December 6, 1888. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 6, 2020
4. Marker detail: Left, National Tribune (Washington DC), December 6, 1888.
Center, The Watchman and Southern (Sumter S.C.), December 19, 1888. Right, The Daily Independent (Helena, MT), June 24, 1890. Library of Congress
Florence National Cemetery Marker shown from a distance. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 2, 2020
5. Florence National Cemetery Marker shown from a distance.
National Register of Historic Places plaque image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, May 2, 2020
6. National Register of Historic Places plaque
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 195 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 27, 2024