Zachary in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana — The American South (West South Central)
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 needs of troops in life and 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 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. Megis directed officers to survey lands in the Civil War theater to find Union dead and plan to reinter them in new national cemeteries. Cemetery
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 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
Erected by U.S.Department of Veteran Affairs - National Cemetery Administration.
Location. 30° 39.657′ N, 91° 16.551′ W. Marker is in Zachary, Louisiana, in East Baton Rouge Parish. Marker can be reached from Port Hickey Road (State Highway 3113) 1.9 miles west of Samuels Road (U.S. 61), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20978 Port Hickey Road, Zachary LA 70791, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Heroes Of The War On Terrorism (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Subterranean Torpedoes (approx. 1.9 miles away); Fort Desperate (approx. 1.9 miles away); Fort Desperate Artillery (approx. 1.9 miles away); Sharpshooter Tower Union Sap (approx. 1.9 miles away); Confederate Tunnel (approx. 1.9 miles away); Exterior Rifle Pit (approx. 1.9 miles away).
Also see . . . Port Hudson National Cemetery. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Submitted on March 28, 2016.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 26, 2016. This page has been viewed 236 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 26, 2016. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.