The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fredericksburg National Cemetery

A companion blog to Sunken Road -- Fredericksburg National Cemetery is on the hill above the road. The cemetery is located on Marye's Heights -- the very place the Confederates used to their advantage to defeat the Union soldiers pinned down below. The battle occurred December, 1862. The cemetery was established in July of 1865 -- just months after the end of the Civil War.

Only 20% of the 15,000 soldiers buried here are identified. They are mostly Union. The Confederate dead were buried at the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg. The Confederate Cemetery was established in May of 1866. Both cemeteries hold those killed in the area battles -- not just from Sunken Road. The four battles in and around Fredericksburg were the Battle of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania Courthouse, and the Wilderness. The most interesting thing about Chancellorsville is Stonewall Jackson's left arm. He was injured in this battle, and his arm amputated and buried there.

This was the same morning I walked along Sunken Road in the fog. The cold and fog added to the atmosphere in the cemetery as I walked along through the fallen ginkgo leaves and soldiers. I had visited this place numerous times -- school field trips and just to go there and walk along the heights.
The park ranger told me that during battle the dead were hastily buried in mass graves. Later, when the cemetery was created, these mass graves were opened and the men were moved to this place. Those who could be identified were and have names on their markers. The other markers have two numbers. One number is for the gravesite location. The other number represents the number of bodies in that grave.


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