ROLL OF HONOR
NAMES OF OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS
FOUND ON THE
BATTLEFIELDS OF THE WILDERNESS
SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE, VA.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
GENERAL ORDERS, QUARTERMASTER GENERAL’S OFFICE No. 58 Washington, D. C. , October 6, 1865
The following roll of names of soldiers -- victims of the rebellion-- interred in the several military cemeteries at the capital of the United States , is published by authority of the Secretary of War, for the information of their comrades and friends.
M. C. MEIGS Quartermaster General. Brevet Major General.
ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER’S OFFICEDEPOT OF WASHINGTON
Washington, D. C. , July 3, 1865
GENERAL: In accordance with “Special Orders No. 132, Headquarters Middle Military Division, Washington, D, C. , June 7, 1865. I have the honor to report as follows:
On the evening of June 8th, I left Washington for Belle Plain, where I joined Colonel Bird , of the 1st regiment, 1st army corps, and proceeded to the battlefields of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House for the purpose of superintending the interments of the remains of Union soldiers yet unburied, and marking their burial places for future identification.
This work was commenced on the 12th and completed the 24th of that month. Careful search was made over the above-mentioned battle fields and the remains of all soldiers, both Union and rebel interred, and headboards, with the name, rank, and regiment, placed at each grave (with some exceptions in cases of rebels) when it was possible to identify the deceased.
The words “Unknown U. S. Soldiers, killed May 10, 1864, ” on a neat tablet, mark the remains of our own soldiers that could not be identified.
On the battle ground of the Wilderness two cemeteries were laid out, enclosed by a paling fence. Cemetery No. 1 is on the Orange Court House turnpike, about two miles from the Wilderness Tavern and contains the remains of one hundred and eight men.
Cemetery No. 2 is on the Orange Court House plank road, about two and a half miles from the junction of the Orange Court House turnpike, and contains the remains of five hundred and thirty four men.
The sites are well adapted for the resting place of those who fell in the vicinity, having been selected where the scenes of carnage appeared to be the greatest. It was no unusual occurrence to observe the bones of our men close to the abates of the enemy; and in one case, several skeletons of our men were found in their trenches.
The bones of these men were gathered from the ground where they fell, having never been interred; and by exposure to the weather for more than a year all traces of their identity were entirely obliterated.
On the battlefield of Spottsylvania but few men were found unburied, many of them having been interred by a Mr. Sandford, who resides at Spottsylvania Court House, in compliance with an agreement to that effect with General Sherman while on his march to Washington city. Over seven hundred names were found on this battlefield and tablets erected in memory of the deceased.
It was my intention to remove these partly buried to a suitable site for a cemetery, but the weather being exceedingly warm and the unpleasant odor from the decayed animal matter so great as to make the removal impracticable. They were, however, carefully re-covered with earth and entirely hidden from view.
Hundreds of graves on these battlefields are without any marks whatever to distinguish them, and so covered with foliage that the visitor will be unable to find the last resting place of those who have fallen until the rains and snows of winter wash from the surface the light covering of earth and expose their remains.
The accompanying list embraces the names of officers and men to whose graves headboards have been erected.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
JAS. M. MOORECaptain and Assistant Quartermaster U. S. Army
Bvt. Maj. Gen. M. C. MEIGS
Quartermaster General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.