Beaufort in Beaufort County, South Carolina — 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
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
Erected by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration.
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Cemeteries marker series.
Location. 32° 26.399′ N, 80° 40.777′ W. Marker is in Beaufort, South Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker can be reached from Boundary Street (Business U.S. 21) west of Bladen Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located just inside the main gate, beside the sidewalk, near the southwest corner of the cemetery office building. Touch for map. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Beaufort National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Address by President Lincoln (within shouting distance of this marker); 1st SC Infantry Of African Descent (within shouting distance of this marker); Re-interred 19 African-American Civil War Volunteers (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Beaufort (approx. 0.4 miles away); Grand Army of the Republic Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Beaufort Historic District (approx. half a mile away); St. Helena's Church (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Beaufort.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Beaufort National Cemetery
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Civil •
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 10, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 26, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 62 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 27, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.