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Near Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Re-Burying the Dead

Groveton Confederate Cemetery

 
 
Re-Burying the Dead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
1. Re-Burying the Dead Marker
Inscription. Of the 266 soldiers buried here, only two are fully identified. • Heavy fire often kept either side from claiming the dead, and after both battles the armies had to maneuver quickly. Some of the wounded lay for days in the blistering sun. • After the fighting, burial details dug shallow, unmarked graves. The process took weeks. Autumn rains soon washed away the thin cover of soil, exposing the remains. In 1866, the United Daughters of the Confederacy established Groveton Cemetery and had these remains reinterred here.

A “Harpers Weekly” magazine correspondent wrote: “In the long, luxuriant grass one strikes his foot against skulls and bones, mingled with the deadly missiles that brought them to the earth. Hollow skulls lie contiguous to the hemispheres of exploded shells.” • Battlefield graves were unmarked, or identified with sticks, headboards, or branches. Hundreds of soldiers received no burial at all.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the United Daughters of the Confederacy marker series.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another
Gates to the Groveton Confederate Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
2. Gates to the Groveton Confederate Cemetery
marker nearby. It was located near 38° 48.823′ N, 77° 32.772′ W. Marker was near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker could be reached from Lee Highway (U.S. 29) east of Groveton Road / Featherbed Lane, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Manassas VA 20109, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Groveton Confederate Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Federal Artillery Position (within shouting distance of this marker); Brooklyn Fourteenth (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Twilight Clash (about 300 feet away); Groveton – Second Battle of Bull Run (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
More about this marker. Groveton Cemetery is shown on U.S. 211 (an east-west route) in earlier 20th century maps. That route shared its roadway with U.S. 29 (a north-south route)at this point until it was cut back to Warrenton in the 1970's. A large parking lot provides plenty of free parking, but each person visiting must have paid the $3 National
Monument to the Confederate Dead image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
3. Monument to the Confederate Dead
Park fee and produce the receipt on request.

This marker was replaced by one named "Groveton Confederate Cemetery." See nearby markers.
 
Regarding Re-Burying the Dead. Two small headstones at opposite sides of the cemetery are of the only known remains. All other soldiers buried here are unidentified.

The cemetery is situated on a gently humped hillock overlooking the road to the south and a stream north and east, and bounded by a low wrought-iron fence. A cement walkway leads from the gates to the obelisk; the central point of the cemetery. It reads:

(front face) Erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the Confederate Dead. We care not whence they came, / Dear in their lifeless clay! / Whether unknown or known to fame, / Their cause and country still the same. / They died—and wore the Gray. (A stanza from the poem “March of the Deathless Dead” by Father Abram J. Ryan, Confederate Army Chaplain.)

(High on the obelisk on the front face) Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. (A line of verse in Latin, by the Roman lyrical poet Horace, which means
<i>In Memory of James Jerman Palmer</i> image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
4. In Memory of James Jerman Palmer
Son of Dr. John S. and Esther Simmons Palmer. Born in Charleston Co. South Carolina May 28, 1840. Was killed in the 2nd Manassas Battle, August 30, 1862. He was a private of the Spartan Rifles and Regiment of Palmetto Sharp Shooters. This gravestone is against the western fence near the obelisk.
“It is right and proper to die for one’s country.”)


(east face) They sleep well in their unknown graves on this far-away battle field.

(north face) They gave their lives in defence of their country on the fields of the First and Second Manassas.

(west face) But for them the counting of time is not: for they dwell in the City of God.
 
Additional comments.
1. March of the Deathless Dead
by Father Abram J. Ryan

(This is the entire poem, excerpted from the book Father Ryan’s Poems by Abram J. Ryan, first published in 1880.)

Gather the sacred dust
Of the warriors tried and true,
Who bore the flag of a Nation’s trust
And fell in a cause, though lost, still just,
And died for me and you.

Gather them one and all,
From the private to the chief;
Come they from hovel or princely hall,
They fell for us, and for them should fall
The tears of a Nation’s grief.

Gather the corpses strewn
O’er many a battle plain;
From many a grave
William Ridley Gravestone image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
5. William Ridley Gravestone
This is what I could read: William ... Ridley. Co. 6 VA Reg.t Southhampton Co. Killed Aug. 30, 1862. 2nd Manassas. Aged 20 years. This gravestone is in the southeast corner of the cemetery.
that lies so lone,
Without a name and without a stone,
Gather the Southern slain.

We care not whence they came,
Dear in their lifeless clay!
Whether unknown, or known to fame,
Their cause and country still the same;
They died—and wore the Gray.

Wherever the brave have died,
They should not rest apart;
Living, they struggled side by side,
Why should the hand of Death divide
A single heart from heart?

Gather their scattered clay,
Wherever it may rest;
Just as they marched to the bloody fray,
Just as they fell on the battle day,
Bury them, breast to breast.

The foeman need not dread
This gathering of the brave;
Without sword or flag, and with soundless tread,
We muster once more our deathless dead,
Out of each lonely grave.

The foeman need not frown,
They all are powerless now;
We gather them here and we lay them down,
And tears and prayers are the only crown
We bring to wreathe each brow.

And the dead thus meet the dead,
While the living o’er them weep;
And the men by Lee and Stonewall led,
And the hearts that once together bled,
Together still shall sleep.
    — Submitted June 24, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,383 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 24, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   3, 4, 5. submitted on June 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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