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Scharf's History of Washington Cemetery, page 3

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soldiers were not reinterred, but were permitted to remain where they had been hastily buried. In many instances the trenches were so washed by the rain that their bones were laid bare and were turned over by the plow.

In a letter dated Dec. 3, 1867, Governor Fenton, of New York, called the attention of the trustees of the Antietam National Cemetery to the sad condition of these Confederate dead, and to the requirement of the Maryland acts of Assembly, which they had disregarded, viz., that the remains of Confederate as well as Federal soldiers should be removed to their cemetery. In this connection, Governor Fenton said, "The hostility of the generous and heroic ends with death, and brief as our history is, it has furnished an early example. The British and Americans who fell at Plattsburgh sleep side by side, and a common monument on the Plains of Abraham attests the heroism of Wolfe and Montcalm." Influenced probably by this appeal and the earnest entreaties of Thomas A. Boullt, secretary and treasurer of the board, the trustees passed a resolution designating and setting apart for the burial of the Confederate dead who fell in the battle of Antietam, in the first invasion of Lee, the southern portion of the grounds, not occupied, and separate from the ground devoted to the burial of the Union dead. At the next session of the Maryland Legislature five thousand dollars was appropriated to the cemetery, presumably for the reinterment of the Confederate dead. But the trustees in 1868 finally postponed any further action towards the removal of these remains. The five thousand dollars appropriated by Maryland still remained in the State treasury, and at the January session of the Legislature of 1870 an act was passed organizing the Washington Cemetery and appropriating the five thousand dollars to its use. The charter provides for the burial of the dead of both armies remaining unburied at the date of that instrument, and for the appointment of three trustees from Maryland and one from any State which may join the corporation. It gives the trustees full power to accomplish the work intrusted to them, and enables them to receive and hold all contributions by way of gift, devise, bequest, etc.

During the summer of 1870, Governor Bowie appointed as trustees on behalf of the State of Maryland Col. H.K. Douglas and Maj. George Freaner, of Washington County, and James T. Gambrill, of Frederick County. The first meeting of the trustees was held in the fall of 1870, and Col. Douglas was elected president. The summer of 1871 was consumed in seeking sites for the cemetery. The charter required that it should be located within one mile of Hagerstown, and the trustees finally purchased two and a half acres and ten perches of land from the Rose Hill Cemetery Company for two thousand four hundred dollars. The Rose Hill Cemetery Company agreed, in making the sale, to keep the grounds in the same condition as their own. After securing the ground, the trustees commenced the removal of the dead, first from the fields of Antietam, about twelve miles south of Hagerstown. With the aid of H.C. Mumma, of Sharpsburg, the trustees disinterred and removed from the battle-fields of Antietam seventeen hundred and twenty-one bodies. The remains when known were placed in single boxes, and when unknown were deposited two in a box. They were removed to Washington Cemetery and buried at an average cost of one dollar and a half per head. This closed the work for 1872 and nearly exhausted the money appropriated, leaving the dead of South Mountain and in isolated parts of the county unburied.

A further appropriation of five thousand dollars, however, was made by the Legislature of Maryland at its January session in 1874, and the Legislatures of Virginia and West Virginia each appropriated five hundred dollars. On receiving these appropriations, the trustees elected Col. W.A. Morgan, of West Virginia, and Maj. R.W. Hunter, of Virginia, to represent their respective States in the board of trustees


J. Thomas Scharf


Collection Location:
Western Maryland Room, WCFL

Publisher: Louis H. Everts.

Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Registers of dead; Cemeteries, Maryland, Washington County; Confederate States of America, Army, Maryland.

Washington and Frederick Counties (Md.), 1868

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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