On the third day Jesus rises from the dead, glorious and immortal. The earth quakes as the angel rolls back the stone, the guards flee in terror. The holy women coming to anoint the body of Jesus are amazed and frightened to find the tomb open. An angel calms their fears: "He is not here. He has risen as He said.
That evening He appears to the apostles behind locked doors: "Peace be unto you He commissions the apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, and promises to be with them forever. He will not leave them orphans, but will send the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen them. Jesus proceeds to Mt. Olivet accompanied by His Mother and the apostles and disciples. Extending His pierced hands over all in a last blessing, He ascends into heaven. As He ascends a cloud takes Him from their sight.
Jesus ascends to take His place at the right hand of the Father. What jubilation there must be amid the angels of heaven at the triumphant entry of Jesus. The wounds in His glorified body are an endless plea before the Father on our behalf. The disciples leave Mt. Olivet and "return to Jerusalem with great joy.
They are persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus.
A sound comes from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it fills the whole house. The Holy Spirit descends on each of them in the form of tongues of fire. Filled with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are enlightened and strengthened to spread the gospel.
Having lost all fear of the Jewish leaders, the apostles boldly preach Christ crucified. The multitudes are confounded because every man hears them speak in his own tongue. The Holy Spirit comes upon the Infant Church never to leave it. That first day Peter goes forth to preach and baptizes three thousand.
These were burial grounds for the dead of a particular battle, usually established when a lull in active operations made such an effort possible. Three of these cemeteries, Chattanooga , Stones River , and Knoxville , were created by Union Generals, and two, Antietam and Gettysburg , by joint actions of northern states whose citizens had participated in the battles. In each case, the purpose of the effort extended well beyond the need for simply disposing of the dead. Gettysburg represented a particularly important turning point.
The large numbers of casualties in that bloody battle were obviously an important factor in generating action, but it was not insignificant that the carnage had occurred in the North, in a town that had not had the opportunity to grow accustomed to the horrors of the constant warfare that had battered Virginia for two long years.
Gettysburg made the dead—and the problem they represented—starkly visible to northern citizens, so many of whom flocked to the small Pennsylvania town after the battle. The dedication of the Union cemetery at Gettysburg marked a new departure in the assumption of national responsibility for the dead and a new acknowledgement of their importance to the nation as well as to their individual families.
The end of combat in spring offered an opportunity to attend to the dead in ways the war had made impossible. Moved by the same humanitarian purposes that had drawn her to nursing during the conflict, Clara Barton was among the first to take advantage of the cessation of battle, establishing an office of Missing Men of the United States Army in Washington, D.
By the time she closed its doors in , she had received more than 68, letters and secured information about 22, soldiers. Many of the missing soldiers of the Union Army lay in graves scattered across the South, often unmarked and unrecorded. In the fall of , U.
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Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs ordered an assessment of the condition and location of graves to ensure their protection, an increasingly urgent issue in face of growing bitterness and defiance in the defeated South. Units of northern soldiers searched across the battle fronts of the war for slain Yankees, inaugurating what became over the next six years a massive federally supported reburial program. Ultimately, , Union soldiers were reinterred in 74 new national cemeteries, and Congress officially established the national cemetery system.
Careful attention to the content of graves and to the documentation that poured in from families and former comrades permitted the identification of 54 percent of the reburied soldiers.
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Some thirty thousand of the reinterred were black soldiers. Just as they were segregated into the U. This federal effort included only Union soldiers. Outraged at the official neglect of their dead, white southern civilians, largely women, mobilized private means to accomplish what federal resources would not. What was to become the cult of the Lost Cause in the latter decades of the century found an origin in the rituals of Confederate reburials. The federal reburial program represented an extraordinary departure for the United States Government, an indication of the very different sort of nation that had emerged from civil war.
The memory of the Civil War dead would remain a force in American politics and American life well into the 20th return to top Designing the First National Cemeteries Visitors to a national cemetery toward the end of the 19th century had a very different experience than travelers have today. Then, visitors arrived by horse-drawn carriage or on foot from nearby railroad stations and steamboat piers.
Located on the edge of towns or adjacent to rural battle sites, the isolated cemeteries were enclosed by masonry walls and planted with trees, shrubs, and flower beds among the uniform white marble headstones marking the graves. To the visitor, this was an austere landscape compared to the typical picturesque Victorian burial grounds characterized by meandering paths and ornate headstones, mausoleums and sculpture.
For the nation, however, it represented a solemn display of appreciation for what Brevet Major Edmund E. Over the course of the next 20 years, the U. Army oversaw the acquisition of land, the design of the cemetery, the reinterment of the dead from shallow battlefield burials or hospital cemeteries, the construction of roads, walls, lodges and utility buildings, the planting of trees and plants, and the acquisition and installation of permanent headstones.
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It was a remarkable undertaking by the Army, which was committed to ensuring that the remains of an estimated , Union dead were buried with dignity and honored in perpetuity by placement in a national cemetery. While the War Department developed designs for permanent features, it erected temporary wooden structures through the early s to support daily operations in the cemetery.
Woefully inadequate, this first generation of construction was gradually replaced by permanent features starting in the early s and continuing through the s. Permanent features made of brick or stone became the norm as national cemetery designs became more standardized. Almost all of the national cemeteries contained a lodge that served as a residence and office for the superintendent, as well as a few utilitarian buildings; a perimeter wall lined on the interior with the prickly Osage-orange Maclura pomifera bush and with both formal and service entries; and a centrally located flagpole.
Covered octagonal or rectangular rostrums were built for speakers at ceremonies on Decoration Day, the original name for Memorial Day, celebrated on May 30th since Memorials and landscape features of all sizes, materials and forms, including inverted cannons, pyramids of cannon balls, obelisks, and statues were dedicated in honor of the dead. By , approximately memorials had been erected within the 80 national cemeteries established by that time.
These principles included localities of historical interest, convenient access, placement on the great thoroughfares of the nation, and places presenting favorable conditions for ornamentation — so that surviving comrades, loving friends, and grateful states might be encouraged to expend liberally for such purposes. Perhaps the most memorable national cemetery feature are the rows of standardized white marble headstones.
Burials of unidentified remains were marked by a low marble block.
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The Army created these homogenized designs at the same time it was standardizing its design of military buildings, barracks, and quarters for all its posts. For the cemetery's superintendent's lodge, the office of the U. Quartermaster General under the supervision of Montgomery C.
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Meigs prepared standardized plans. Designed in an elegant French Second Empire style with a mansard roof, the small lodges were a prominent element at the main entrance of more than 50 cemeteries. The pattern of burials in a large number of cemeteries followed a geometric plan suitable for level ground, despite often-undulating topography.
Graves were arranged in concentric circles around the central flagstaff mound, as seen at the Knoxville, TN , and Glendale and Poplar Grove, VA, cemeteries. More complicated was the elaborate compass-rose plan seen at Fayetteville, AR. Although most national cemeteries averaged ten acres or less, they were still able to evoke the precision and patterns associated with the military in their layout. They contain four of the five monumental gates built in the national cemeteries starting in Hardwood trees were planted or preserved to assure shade from the hot southern sun.
At Corinth National Cemetery , although the more traditional geometric layout of burials was followed, a foot wide serpentine avenue was planned for the perimeter. Paths in many cemeteries were allowed to green over, or become grassy, for the visual effect, as well as for the comfort of its visitors and the easy maintenance of the grounds. As early as , U.
Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs contacted the noted landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, for advice on plantings. During the Civil War, Olmsted had seen firsthand the wounded and the dying as the executive secretary of the U. Sanitary Commission, a private organization that was the precursor of the Red Cross.
Throughout the remainder of the 19th century and up to World War I, national cemeteries saw a number of improvements to the roadways approaching and within the cemeteries, as well as with the construction of rostrums and service buildings on the cemeteries' grounds. Between the two World Wars, the Army established seven new cemeteries, some at existing facilities and others in new locations, to serve large populations of veterans.
The pressure on active sites to remain open and accommodate additional burials was so great that any viable open area, such as buffer strips along walls, road curbs, and paths, had to be utilized.
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The filling of these open spaces eroded the integrity of the original 19th-century historic landscapes. During the next two decades, the Army had limited interest in operating the aging cemetery system. Only after , with the transfer of most of the national cemeteries to the Veterans Administration now the Department of Veterans Affairs , were new properties acquired and older sites reactivated through expansion.
Mobile Bay was the site of one of the most decisive Union naval victories as Admiral David Farragut and his fleet fought for control of the waterway in August Army Quartermaster General Montgomery C. In addition to Civil War interments, burials include veterans from the War of and later conflicts through the Vietnam era.
During the early days of the Civil War, the Union adopted a strategy of controlling southern seaports through occupation or blockade. Although Union naval forces attempted to blockade the shipping traffic in and out of Mobile, blockade runners managed to slip in and out of the harbor.
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Outgoing vessels carried bales of southern cotton, destined for markets in Europe in exchange for hard currency. Inbound blockade runners brought goods needed by the Confederate Army. By summer , Mobile stood as the last Confederate stronghold on the Gulf of Mexico. To stop this trade and deliver a crushing blow to the Confederacy, a Union naval fleet under the command of Admiral Farragut converged on Mobile Bay in August Adding to the danger, the lead vessel—the ironclad Tecumseh —hit a torpedo and sank, bringing the fleet to a precarious halt in front of the guns of Fort Morgan.
Full speed ahead! While the Union held the bay, the city remained in Confederate hands until three days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia in April Upon entering the city, the Union Army needed a burial space for fallen soldiers, and began interments in the city-owned Magnolia Cemetery.
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