Now What: Civil War Burials

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Q. Today when soldiers are killed in action, the bodies are sent home for burial. I have an ancestor from New Hampshire who was killed in action in Virginia during the Civil War. Where were the bodies buried back then?

A. Typically, because of the magnitude of the carnage, the fallen from both sides were buried on or near the battlefield sites. Most of these graveyards are now national cemeteries, and this issue’s top 10 list of Civil War websites can help you find your ancestor in those graveyards.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ site searches for those buried in VA national cemeteries across the country, including soldiers from the Civil War.

The National Park Service also manages 14 national cemeteries, all but one of which is related to a Civil War battlefield park, and the agency is working on listing all names of burials in these cemeteries on its Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System website.

Already up are data from written records of Poplar Grove National Cemetery at Petersburg National Battlefield, including images of the headstones. Poplar Grove is also indexed in the VA site, but if you don’t find an ancestor there who might have fallen at Petersburg, it’s worth double-checking at the Park Service site.


From the May 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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