Skip to main content
The Civil War and Chicago: Memorialization, Commemoration, and Remembrance at Rosehill Cemetery

Burial and Interment

Fredericksburg, Virginia. Burial of Federal Dead.

Burial of the Federal Dead at Fredericksburg

Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

 
The scale and terrible violence of soldier death impacted burial procedures on and near battlefields.  Although both the Union and Confederate armies attempted to regulate and plan for soldier burials, they quickly found themselves overrun. 
 
Many soldiers were buried in their blankets in shallow graves near battlefields and field hospitals.  Makeshift grave markers were provided when time and resources allowed.

 

A Burial Party on the Battlefield of Cold Harbor

A Burial Party at Cold Harbor

Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

In a survey conducted in July 1865, the Quartermaster Department reported that only thirty percent of Union dead had been buried properly.  The nation, still wrestling with changing perceptions of death, demanded that the Government take action.