Where Valor Proudly Sleeps: Chapter Seven

Where Valor Proudly Sleeps-full title

CHAPTER SEVEN: Refinements


Additional Photos

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The cemetery’s third flagstaff stood from 1878 to 1905. Although shorter and less attractive than its predecessors, it proved durable.

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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. The new pole, made of metal, has endured to this day.

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Upturned Columbiad cannon tubes, called gun monuments, have stood sentinel around the central mound since around 1868.

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Benches, or lawn seats, like those seen here, have adorned the cemetery since the 1870s.

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Stanzas of George Meitike’s poem “The Stripes and the Stars” (below, middle) graced the cemetery until the 1880s, when they were replaced by stanzas from Theodore O’Hara’s poem “The Bivouac of the Dead” (bottom)

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Theodore O’Hara, author of “The Bivouac of the Dead.”

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An 1865 broadside soliciting donations for a Soldiers’ Monument. Plans for the monument were scrapped when the Quartermaster Department chose to build the cemetery on Marye’s Heights.

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7-8aColonel Josef Moesch of the 83rd New York died leading his troops in the Wilderness. Originally buried in the Jones family cemetery at Ellwood, Moesch’s remains were moved to Fredericksburg in 1887. Three years later, veterans of the regiment dedicated a monument over his grave.

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7-9bIn 1900, the Society of the Army of the Potomac dedicated this monument to the Fifth Corps, which stands near the cemetery entrance. The corps’ former commanded, Gen. Daniel Butterfield, funded the monument but did not live to see its completion.

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The 127th Pennsylvania fought in just two battles, both at Fredericksburg. Veterans of the regiment traveled to the town in 1906 to dedicate a monument, which they placed inside the cemetery. It is one of five monuments there today.

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Perhaps the finest monument in the cemetery is the one dedicated to Gen. Andrew Humphreys’s Pennsylvania division. It holds a prominent place in the center of the grounds, where earlier flagstaffs stood.

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Partially concealed beneath a boxwood in the on the south side of the cemetery stands a small memorial to Captain William W. Parker’s Virginia Battery. Parker’s battery was overrun during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg in May 1863, losing most of its guns.

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Surprisingly, no images of the rostrum have yet come to light. It probably resembled this one at Poplar Grove National Cemetery, Virginia.

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A large, decorative vase stood in front of the lodge during the first half of the 20th century. It is visible in this photograph, just inside the gates. Note also the hitching post just up the hill, where the maintenance road branches off the main carriageway.

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A close-up view of the decorative vase taken in 1939. The man standing to the right of the vase is probably Superintendent George Nelson.

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At one time, there were two hitching posts at the cemetery: one at the junction of the carriageway and the maintenance road and the other just outside the front gate. The latter still stands.

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As is evident from this 1892 map, Fredericksburg National Cemetery was once quite wooded. Since then, most of the trees have fallen victim to storms, infestations, and drought.

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This early view from the cemetery shows newly planted trees on the south terraces.

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A bronze tablet containing the words of the Gettysburg Address is affixed to the south wall of the lodge, near the porch.