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5626Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: National Cemetery Grave Markers

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  • Thomas Clemens
    Mar 24, 2009
      Forwarded from Steve Stotelmyer

      When researching The Bivouacs of the Dead information on the headstones
      at Antietam was hard to come by. As previously pointed out Snell and
      Brown’s Administrative History was strangely silent on the subject. The
      best I was able to find was: Risch, Erna, Quartermaster Support of the
      Army: A History of the Corps 1775-1939, Center of Military History
      United States Army, Washington D.C. 1989. From pages 466-467, “…1867,
      Congress also made provisions for a continuing program of care and
      maintenance of national cemeteries…Congress directed the Secretary of
      War to mark each grave with a small headstone…The Secretary of War made
      no final decision until 1873, when Congress having appropriated $1
      million for headstones, he decided in favor of marble or durable
      stone…Before the end of the year, the Quartermaster’s Department had
      let contracts and the work of placing the headstones in the national
      cemeteries was begun.” Please accept my apologies for failure to cite
      the source.

      Since the publication of Bivouacs the Park Service has issued a
      pamphlet with the following: “1879 also saw the inception of the
      standardized headstone. Designed by General Montgomery Meigs, the marble
      stones we see today are mostly Meig’s design with some variations. From
      the beginning a number of styles were used to mark the graves. Some
      inscriptions are in relief and some are not. Additionally, the relatives
      of some soldiers elected to provide their own markers, their designs
      varied greatly as did the material used. The private markers included
      metal, granite, wood, and of course marble. As late as 1936 some of
      these irregular markers remained. During that year Superintendent Carl
      M. Taute had the last 43 removed and replaced by the standard design.”
      Unfortunately there is no documentation, but I did find the last
      sentence about Superintendent Taute documented in Snell and Brown’s
      Administrative History, page 224. Hope this information helps.
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