Elmira in Chemung County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Woodlawn National Cemetery
Elmira Military Depot
On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for volunteers to put down the Confederate rebellion. Three days later, New York Gov. Edwin G. Morgan appealed for 13,280 troops to fill the state's quota of soldiers. He also announced that military bases would be established at New York City, Albany, and Elmira.
Located on two railroad lines and a canal, Elmira was the perfect rendezvous point for enlistees from upstate New York. Between 1861 and 1863, more than 20,000 men passed through the city on their way to the front. All three units of the army -- infantry, artillery, and cavalry -- were mustered in and trained in Elmira.
Various buildings in town were leased to house recruits and store supplies. Later, officials acquired land in four Elmira locals, and established camps with barracks, officers' quarters, kitchens, and mess halls. Two of these camps were eventually closed. In summer 1864, Camp Rathbun, or Barracks No. 3, located between Water Street and the Chemung River, became Elmira Prison Camp. Prison guards were housed in tents and barracks outside the west wall of the prison.
An 1871 Quartermaster Department inspection reported that 119 Union soldiers and 2,982 Confederate prisoners were buried in the private Woodlawn Cemetery. The graves of nine more Union dead were acknowledged here later. Most had died at Elmira General Hospital.
In 1874 through the efforts of Congressman H. Boardman Smith of Elmira, the government lot in Woodlawn Cemetery was designated Woodlawn National Cemetery. The Union graves, at the north end of the cemetery, were marked with marble headstones.
Smith also wanted the War Department to mark Confederate graves, but it refused on the basis it lacked the authority. These graves remained unmarked until 1908 with the Commission for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead completed installation of the distinctive pointed-top headstones.
Disaster: Shohola Monument
On July 15, 1864, a train bound for Elmira carrying Confederate prisoners and their Union guards departed Campy Lookout, Maryland. As it rounded a curve near Shohola, Pennsylvania, it rammed a coal train head-on. A telegraph operator had mistakenly put both trains on the same track.
Forty-nine prisoners and seventeen guards died. Railroad employees and Confederate prisoners buried
Erected by National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Location. 42° 6.656′ N, 76° 49.6′ W. Marker is in Elmira, New York, in Chemung County. Marker is on Davis Street. Touch for map. Marker is located near the cemetery office (the old superintendent's lodge). Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 Walnut Street, Elmira NY 14905, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A National Cemetery System (here, next to this marker); Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Shohola Railroad Accident Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Burials (about 300 feet away); Address by President Lincoln (about 300 feet away); Confederate Soldiers Memorial (about 500 feet John W. Jones Museum (approx. ¼ mile away); Augustus W. Cowles (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mark Twain (approx. 0.3 miles away); Veterans of All Wars (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elmira.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Disasters • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 1, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 225 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on November 1, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 11. submitted on November 1, 2015.