Where Valor Proudly Sleeps: A History of Fredericksburg National Cemetery
by Donald C. Pfanz

“Engaging the Civil War” Series
Southern Illinois University Press,

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Many books discuss in great detail what happened during Civil War battles. This is one of the few that investigate what happened to the remains of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Where Valor Proudly Sleeps explores a battle’s immediate and long-term aftermath by focusing on Fredericksburg National Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries created by the U.S. government after the Civil War. Pfanz shows how legislation created the National Cemetery System and describes how the Burial Corps identified, collected, and interred soldier remains as well as how veterans, their wives, and their children also came to rest in national cemeteries. By sharing the stories of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, its workers, and those buried there, Pfanz explains how the cemetery evolved into its current form, a place of beauty and reflection.

Publications in this Series

Chapter One

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER ONE: Wartime Burials Photos Colonel John R. Brooke led the 1862 burial details that interred the Union dead at Marye’s Heights. *     *     * This map, drawn by George C. Anderson of the Fifty-Third Pennsylvania, shows the location of two long burial trenches created by Brooke’s burial on the plain in front of […]

Chapter Two

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER TWO: Postwar Burials in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Court House Photos The First United States Veteran Volunteers scoured the Wilderness for Union remains in June 1865. Unburied skeletons, like these, were interred in one of two cemeteries established on the battlefield. *     *     * Wilderness National Cemetery No. 1 stood in […]

Chapter Three

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER THREE: A Call to Action Photos Private Frederick H. Kronenberger of the Second New Jersey Volunteers was shot in the knees on May 12, 1864, while on picket duty at Spotsylvania Court House. He was taken back to Fredericksburg, where he died on May 22. Kronenberger may have been one of the 328 soldiers buried […]

Chapter Four

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER FOUR: The Creation of Fredericksburg National Cemetery Photos  ·  Additional Resources Photos  Brig. Gen. Thomas Meagher led the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fredericksburg. *     *     * These two images together show a cross-section of the national cemetery at its northern end. The “Stone Wall,” in the left image, runs along the […]

Chapter Five

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER FIVE: Toward a More Permanent Cemetery Photos  ·  Additional Resources Photos Over time many of Fredericksburg’s markers have become soiled, such as this headstone of Charles Alsop and the block marking the grave of four unidentified soldiers buried in plot #4073. *     *     * These memorials on the graves of unknown soldiers are […]

Chapter Six

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER SIX: The Superintendent’s Lodge and Other Buildings Photos  ·  Additional Resources Photos Like most national cemeteries in the country, Fredericksburg’s superintendent’s lodge closely follows a design put forward by architect Edward Clark. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs approved Clark’s plans in 1871. *     *     * This photograph of the lodge was taken ca. 1883. […]

Chapter Seven

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER SEVEN: Refinements Additional Photos The cemetery’s third flagstaff stood from 1878 to 1905. Although shorter and less attractive than its predecessors, it proved durable. *     *     * With construction of the Humphreys Monument in 1908, the flagstaff was moved to a new location at the brow of the hill adjacent to the carriageway. […]

Chapter Eight

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER EIGHT: Cemetery Employees Additional Photos Andrew Birdsall (shown here later in life) and his family (bottom) lived in the cemetery from 1883 to 1892. Birdsall and his wife, Julia (middle), are buried there. *     *     * One of the Birdsall girls *     *     * Andrew Birdsall’s calling card while he was […]

Chapter Nine

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER NINE: Interments Additional Photos Examples of some Fredericksburg’s corrected headstones: *     *     * Admol L. Jett and his son, Admol G. Jett, share the a common grave. This image shows Admol G. Jett’s headstone inscription. His father’s inscription appears on the other side of the stone. *     *     * In a […]

Chapter Ten

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER TEN: Special Populations Additional Photos   James Crowther is one of just two colonels known to be buried at Fredericksburg. His headstone looks like any other. *     *     * Moses Humphrey is one of five black Civil War soldiers known to be buried at Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Early records indicate that two unidentified […]

Chapter Eleven

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Stories Additional Photos   Corporal John Warner of the Twelfth New York received a mortal wound at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Friends buried him at the Carpenter farm in Stafford County. One of them later sketched his grave. *     *     * Second Lieutenant Peter Froeligh had the distinction of serving in two […]

Chapter Twelve

by Emerging Civil War

CHAPTER TWELVE: Memorial Day Commemorations Additional Photos On Memorial Day, 1936, family members placed flowers at the grave of Herman Smith of the Thirty-first New York, a Civil War veteran who had died two years earlier. *     *     * For years, schoolchildren decorated Fredericksburg’s graves with flags on Memorial Day. In 1934, fourth-grade students […]

Chapter Thirteen

by Emerging Civil War

EPILOGUE: Fredericksburg National Cemetery under the National Park Service Additional Photos An aerial view of Fredericksburg National Cemetery as it looked under the National Park Service in the mid-20th century. Note the sparsity of trees compared to earlier years. *     *     * The National Park Service constructed an interpretive station on the brow […]