Marietta in Cobb County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
A National Cemetery System
Civil War Dead
An estimated 700,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War between April 1861 and April 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 commanding officers to keep "accurate and permanent records of deceased soldiers." It also required the U.S. Army Quartermaster General, the office responsible for administering to the need of troops in life and in death, to mark each grave with a headboard. A few months later, the department mandated interment of the dead in graves marked with numbered headboards, recorded in a register.
Creating National Cemeteries
The authority to create military burial grounds came in an Omnibus Act of July 17, 1862. It directed the president to purchase land to be used as "a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of the country." Fourteen national cemeteries were established by 1862.
When hostilities ended, a grim task began. In October 1865, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs directed officers to survey lands in the Civil War theater to find Union dead and plan to reinter them in new national cemeteries. Cemetery sites
Most cemeteries were less than 10 acres, and layouts varied. In the Act to Establish and to Protect National Cemeteries of February 22, 1867, Congress funded new permanent walls or fences, grave markers, and lodges for cemetery superintendents.
At first only soldiers and sailors who died during the Civil War were buried in national cemeteries. In 1873, eligibility was expanded to all honorably discharged Union veterans, and Congress appropriated $1 million to mark the graves. Upright marble headstones honor individuals whose names were known; 6-inch-square blocks mark unknowns.
By 1873, military post cemeteries on the Western frontier joined the national cemetery system. The National Cemeteries Act of 1973 transferred 82 Army cemeteries, including 12 of the original 14, to what is now the National Cemetery Administration.
Reflection and Memorialization
The country reflected upon the Civil War's human toll - 2 percent of the U.S. population died. Memorials honoring war service were built in national cemeteries. Most were donated by regimental units, state governments and veterans' organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic.
Soldiers' graves near General Hospital, City Point, Va., c. 1863 Library of Congress.
Knoxville National Cemetery was established after the siege of the city and Battle of Fort Sanders in 1863. Cemetery plan, 1892, National Archives and Records Administration.
Lodge at City Point, Va., pre-1928. The first floor contained a cemetery office, and living room and kitchen for the superintendent's family; three bedrooms were upstairs.
National cemetery monuments, left to right: Massachusetts Monument, Winchester, Va., 1907; Maryland Sons Monument, Loudon Park, Baltimore, Md., 1885; and Women's Relief Corps/Grand Army of the Republic Monument to the Unknown Dead, Crown Hill, Indianapolis, Ind., 1889.
To learn more about benefits and programs for Veterans and families, visit www.va.gov
Erected by National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Location. Touch for map. The marker is some few feet to the left after entering the Marietta National Cemetery.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Marietta National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Marietta National Military Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Wisconsin Soldiers Memorial (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Address by President Lincoln (about 500 feet away); Judge Debra Halpern Bernes (approx. ¼ mile away); Lemon St. Grammar and High School (approx. ¼ mile away); Robert Edward Flournoy, Jr. (approx. ¼ mile away); Cherokee Treaty (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Marietta.
Regarding A National Cemetery System. This marker is commonly present at all National Cemeteries.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Man-Made Features • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 13, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 13, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.