Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Yorktown National Cemetery
Yorktown in the Civil War
— Colonial Nat'l Hist Park —
Grave Number 497
On August 31, 1861, Isaac and his brother James enlisted in Company C, 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. In early May 1864, Lieutenant Isaac Cornelius submitted his resignation but remained with the army, while his request was processed. At the Battle of Cold Harbor, on June 2, 1864, Isaac was mortally wounded and died four days later. Isaac left widowed his bride of just three months. The Civil War also claimed the lives of three of his brothers.
I passed . . . THE UNION SOLDIER'S BURIAL GROUND . . . laid out in avenues and enclosed with a Virginia rail fence; each grave having a headboard, neatly marked, telling the hero's name, his company and regiment . . . In this lonely resting place on the plains of Yorktown, sleeps many a noble boy, far from his home and kindred, with no kind friend to drop a tear, or sing a funeral requiem.
Barthalomew S. DeForest, 1st Lieutenant
81st New York Regiment, 1862
In the spring of 1862, war again scarred Yorktown's landscape as a Union army prepared to besiege Confederate forces holding the town. On the night of May 3-4,
By war's end, the remains of approximately 600 Union soldiers had been buried in this area between the 1781 Allied Siege Lines. In 1866, the cemetery was designated a national cemetery, and Union dead from over 50 field burial sites within 50 miles of Yorktown were re-interred here.
Of the 2,183 burials, two-thirds of the remains are unknown. Only 747 are identified.
Grave Number 351
William Scott is known as the Sleeping Sentinel. In August, 1861, Scott, along with his unit, the 3rd Vermont Regiment, was assigned picket duty near Washington, D.C. On the night of August 31, however, Scott was caught asleep at his post. He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, the first soldier from the Army of the Potomac to face execution. President Abraham Lincoln, however, spared his life. On April 16, 1862, Vermont troops assaulted Confederates at Dam No. 1, south of Williamsburg. William Scott was one of 44 Vermont soldiers killed in the action.
Erected by Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries series list.
Location. 37° 13.538′ N, 76° 30.369′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker can be reached from Cook Road (Virginia Route 238), on the right when traveling north. Marker is located on the Yorktown Battlefield inside the National Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Shiloh Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Slabtown (within shouting distance of this marker); Surrender at Yorktown (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Allied Siege Line (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Shiloh Baptist Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand French Battery (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Grand French Battery (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Allied Siege Line (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
More about this marker. Portraits of Isaac Cornelius and William Scott appear on the marker.
Also see . . . Yorktown in the Civil War. National Park Service. (Submitted on March 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 2, 2010, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,438 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on December 15, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1. submitted on March 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 2. submitted on November 26, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 3, 4. submitted on March 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5, 6. submitted on July 26, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 7. submitted on March 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.