Civil War Cemeteries

For the generation that experienced the war, and the first generations to inherit it, cemeteries were crucial sites of memory, far more so than battlefields. Americans in both the North and the South found the enormous quantity of the dead overwhelming; a burden made more difficult by sectional hostilities and emotional desolation. Cemeteries were places where the broad social and political tides sweeping both nations intersected the familial and individual, with painful intimacy.

We offer these pages to reflect something of the scope and significance of Civil War soldier burials. Two pages offer glimpses into the pattern of cemetery construction, both Union and Confederate. Other pages discuss the later expansion of federal burial policy in the National Cemeteries that are a direct legacy of the Civil War. Lastly, an annotated bibliography of key works in death culture and the importance of Civil War soldier death offers suggestions for further reading and exploration.

As always, we would be happy for feedback and discussion.


United States Colored Troops Burial Grounds and Plots

Confederate Soldiers Burial Grounds and Plots

The Expansion of Federal Burial Policy

Readings in Death Studies and the Civil War