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Allegany County
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Newspaper coverage - neglected graves of dead at Antietam, June 1865

Union soldiers, Battle of Antietam. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


The Antietam Cemetery

We earnestly call the attention of the press of Northern cities and the Governors of those States which had troops engaged in the battles of Antietam and South Mountain, to the neglected condition of the graves of eight thousand of the gallant dead, scattered over a distance of thirty miles, in the vicinity of this sanguinary field. The State of Maryland has but few of its sons thus neglected —those that fell in these battles having been mostly removed by their friends but our Legislature has taken the initiatory steps toward the establishment of a Cemetery at Sharpsburg, having appointed Commissioners and appropriated seven thousand dollars for the securing and enclosing a proper site for its location. The Commissioners consist of General K. Shriver, of Frederick city; Dr. Augustine A. Biggs, of Sharpsburg; Thomas A. Boullt, Esq., of Hagerstown, and Charles C. Fulton, of Baltimore.

The first meeting of the commissioners was laid at Hagerstown, on the 5th ult., when, after calling Mr. C. C. Fulton to the chair, they permanently organized under the law by the election of Dr. Augustine A. Biggs as President, and Thomas A. Boullt Esq., as Treasurer.

The meeting then adjourned to the next day to the ten acre lot adjoining the town of Sharpsburg, selected for the cemetery. The site is a most appropriate one, in close proximity to the battlefield of Antietam and but a few hundred yards from what is now known as the Burnside Bridge. It is also within sight of the brick farmhouse in which General McClellan established his headquarters. Indeed, a portion of the battle was fought in the streets of Sharpsburg, where General Lee had his headquarters, and most of the houses bear marks of the shot and shell which rained on them from the contending armies. The women and children were compelled to take up their quarters in the cellers for twenty four hours and recount many narrow escapes from the shells that exploded in their parlors and chambers. A short distance to the north of Sharpsburg is the famous corn field in which the heaviest portion of the battle was fought, and the old Dunkard Church, which was riddled by bullets. The Commissioners visited the field and surrounding woods, discovered hundreds of graves, and viewed the woods to which the Rebels retreated, each tree bearing the marks of the leaden and iron messengers of death.

The object of this visit of the Commissioners was to consummate the purchase of the site selected, to make arrangements for the grading and walling the Cemetery, and to ascertain the number of groves that are marked and those that are unknown. In pursuing this branch of their inquiries they were gratified to meet with Mr. Aaron Goode, a patriotic citizen of Sharpsburg, who presented the Commissioners with a list of the names and regiments, and locations of the graves of over fifteen hundred of the gallant dead. He also stated that most of the farmers on whose lands graves were located had preserved the names of the dead, and that the hospital records could be procured which would give the names of the occupants of many of the graves which where only numbered at the time of burial. The Commissioners finding Mr. Goode could thus locate from three to four thousand graves, with the names and regiments of the occupants, promptly employed him to perfect his list and to keep up the record and the grave marks until the work of removal should be commenced. Proposals will be immediately issued for the erection of a substantial stone wall on the outer lines of the Cemetery, and the erection of foundation walls on that portion fronting the turnpike, leaving the character of this part of the enclosure to await the action of other States interested in the work, notification having been received by Governor Bradford from a number of the Governors of other States of their intention to urge upon their respective legislatures the appointment of co-operating Commissioners and liberal appropriations for the consummation of the object.

In the meantime the Maryland Commissioners, under the energetic personal superintendence of their President. Dr. Biggs, and Mr. Boullt, the Treasurer, will proceed with all the incipient work, as far as the means at their disposal will warrant, after paying one thousand dollars for the grounds selected. Governor Bradford is also heartily cooperating in the patriotic work, and we have no doubt that there will be a very general interest manifested on the part of all the States whose sons are in nameless graves to carry the project to a successful issue. The Commissioners will also, for the information of those personally concerned, shortly publish a list of all the recognized graves now being perfected by Mr. Goode.—Baltimore American.


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Collection Location:
Washington County Free Library.

Original Size:
23 x 14 cms

Antietam National Cemetery; United States History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Registers of dead.

Washington County, Md; 1862-1869.

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

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