Death and Dying

NPS Primary Theme: The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans–North and South–to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind, often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.  Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.  The Civil War revolutionized the American military’s approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death.

NOTE: Please use the comments section below to chronicle your progress with this theme throughout the remaining weeks of the course. Begin by outlining how your group decided to work with the theme (e.g., assigning one theme to one person or dividing themes up between team members) and then outline in detail, at least once each week, the work that you have done toward crafting your three podcast proposals.

21 Responses to Death and Dying

  1. Melissa Swank says:

    III. Arlington House NHP/Arlington National Cemetery: Burial and the federal response to death in the Civil War.

    Theme Statement:
    The creation of Arlington National Cemetery is a direct response to the loss, memory, and deaths of the heroes and civilians that deserved recognition out of the Civil War.

    Abstract:
    The Civil War revolutionized the American military’s approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. After the war, a massive and superbly organized effort by the War Department to recover, identify, and rebury Union dead in newly established national cemeteries, of which Arlington National Cemetery is an example, was an act of atonement for the nation’s failings during the war itself. The disruption and upset of death on the Nation during the Civil War has define the ways in which, even today, we view death.

    In 1864, the Civil War was in its third year. Fighting escalated, as the Union objective to destroy the Confederate army intensified. Converted churches, public halls, and governmental buildings took the form of hospitals as they were flooded with massive numbers of war casualties. Those that died initially were buried in local cemeteries, however it was not long until they were filled.

    On May 13, 1864, Union soldiers dug the grave of William Christman, Private from the 67th Pennsylvania. Christman’s grave was the first of many to be interred on the northern border of Robert E. Lee’s old Arlington estate, the soon-to-be site of a new national cemetery. The government officially had bought the Arlington property in January of 1864, although Union armies had occupied the land since 1861. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs was in charge of designating the cemetery and found great appeal in burying Union dead at Lee’s old estate. Secretary of War Stanton approved Meigs request the same day and on June 15, 1864, Arlington National Cemetery was born.

    Meigs initially intended that the bodies be buried as closely to the mansion as possible, making the property as he believed “uninhabitable,” to ensure the Lee family would not retaliate and exhume the dead after the war was over. Meigs hoped the cemetery would also justify the use of the property, as Lee had shamed it by resigning from the U.S. Army and leading the Confederate forces.1

    The cemetery, however, developed differently than Meigs envisioned. The first burials were largely distant from the mansion. Officers housed at the mansion were uncomfortable with the idea of living among the dead. “Meigs continued to push the issue and, after considerable effort, finally got his wish. In August 1864, 26 bodies were buried along the perimeter of Mrs. Lee’s rose garden within a few yards of the mansion.”2

    In 1866, Meigs sought further assurance that the Lees would not return to Arlington with his creation of the Civil War Unknowns Monument in the Lee rose garden. The monument still stands today and the remains of 2,111 unknown soldiers are housed in the vault. The memorial was the first dedicated to the unidentified soldiers. The monument was in addition to the 15,000 soldiers that had already been buried at Arlington. Meigs’ fears never would come to play – the Lees never returned to Arlington.

    Due to the heavy emphasis on Union burials initially at Arlington National Cemetery, it was certain that Confederate soldiers and families would feel some animosity and unjust treatment. The graves of Confederate soldiers could not be decorated in the cemetery, and at times the burial of Confederate soldiers was denied. In 1900, in the spirit of reconciliation, the federal government authorized and set-aside a portion of the cemetery exclusively for Confederate dead. Many Confederate graves, including soldiers, wives, and civilians, were exhumed and reinterred in the Confederate portion of Arlington National Cemetery. In 1914, the United Daughters of the Confederacy displayed the completed Confederate Monument, intricate and detailed with iconography designed by Confederate veteran Moses Ezekiel.

    Today, as a direct result of the massive life lost during and after the Civil War, more than 300,000 people are honored and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, including soldiers from the American Revolution through the Iraq/Afghanistan wars of today. More than 3,800 freed slaves are also interred on the sight, designated as “civilians” or “citizens.” Arlington National Cemetery is unique in the fact that it is the only national cemetery to be operated and maintained by the U.S. Army. All other national cemeteries are maintained by the National Park Service. As far as this podcast goes, clearly the emphasis is on the formation of Arlington National Cemetery as a result of the massive loss of life during the Civil War. In conjunction with the National Park Service, Arlington House NHP does not interpret the events of the Civil War, nor its aftermath. This series of podcasts, specifically within the theme of death and dying, gives new opportunity to broaden and expand on the historical narrative and interpretive themes at Arlington House NHP, as the house itself is the key explanation as to why Arlington National Cemetery is located on the site today.

  2. Melissa Swank says:

    II. Jean Lafitte NHP: Anti-Typical Death – Points of view, non-soldier deaths, mourning practice changes.

    Theme Statement:
    The commemorative headstones of “Lyons” Wakeman and those of the Louisiana Native Guards reveals that no one was left untouched by the grief and mourning caused by death during the Civil War.

    Abstract:
    This podcast within the death and dying theme, will link the subject to how American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying. The Civil War shattered preconceived notions of American life – and death, and helped to reshape and redefine the ways in which we mourn and celebrate the dead. No American was left untouched by the Civil War and the reality of death it induced. The Civil War marked a departure from a general conception of who should die, when and where, and how they ought to die. Pre-Civil War, there were high levels of infant mortality, however if one survived infancy and youth it was fair to assume that they would survive until at least middle age. On the other hand, the war was notorious for destroying men (and women) in the prime of their lives, and those who entered the war were five times more likely to die than those who did not. Due to the high percentage of Protestantism of the impacted populations, death was understood within the context of Christian faith and salvation.

    At Jean Lafitte NHP, the Chalmette National Cemetery stands as a memorial of those who died as a result of the Civil War. Among the interred are Sarah Rosetta “Lyons” Wakeman and the Veterans of the Louisiana Native Guards. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was twenty-one upon her death on June 19, 1864. Young and ambitious, Wakeman was an American woman who presented herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. It appears that her motivation for entering the war as a soldier was primarly economical. Before the war she had also worked, as a male, as a coal handler on a canal boat. However, she enlisted under the alias of Private Lyons Wakeman in 1862 and served in the 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers. The letters of her experience as a Union Soldier are expressed in An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862-1864. Wakeman died of dysentery and was buried at Chalmette National Cemetery in Chalmette, Louisiana. The narrative of her experience should be chronicled in the podcast according to this primary source. Her experience demonstrates the “uncommon” nature of death in the Civil War. This was not a war where only the men were killed on the battlefield – Lyons is not alone as other women are documented on the battlefields. Also, whereas we often think of battle wounds as the primary cause of death, Wakeman’s story demonstrates that disease due to poor sanitation was often the cause of death during the war.

    Wakeman is not the only Civil War soldier to have been buried at Chalmette National Cemetery. There were one hundred thirty-two Confederate prisoners of war interred in Chalmette. In 1868, the Ladies Benevolent Association of New Orleans received permission to remove the Confederate remains to Cypress Grove Cemetery in New Orleans. One-hundred and thirteen black soldiers in the Native Guards are also known to be buried at Chalmette National Cemetery. The Louisiana Native Guard was one of the first all-black regiments to fight in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Some were reinterred there after the war from their original graves at Fort Pike or on Ship Island. Others were hospitalized in New Orleans during the war and were buried at Chalmette when they died. The remainder survived the war and asked to be buried in the Chalmette National Cemetery as veterans. The last burial of a veteran of the Native Guards at Chalmette occurred on October 12, 1929.1

    Using the Louisiana Native Guard as a case study, the perception of death outside of the “white” vision should be established. Traditions and mourning practices were undoubtedly different within those of different ethnic backgrounds, and yet the nation was undergoing a great shift in the way death was viewed and mourned. Jean Lafitte NHP provides and opportunity to expand the known narrative about the “white” and male perceptions of life and death in the Civil War for greater historical meaning. These different perceptions can also be used to appeal to a wider audience. Jean Lafitte NHP: Anti-Typical Death – Points of view, non-soldier deaths, mourning practice changes.

  3. Melissa Swank says:

    Greg, how does this look? I feel that it is thorough, complete, and concise. However, feedback would be great. I left out my tangibles/intangible/universal themes since I have the listed previously on this thread. If this is good, than one podcast proposal is complete! Yippee!

    Melissa

    Theme: Death and Dying
    I. Antietam NHP: Massive Death – The bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.

    Theme Statement:
    The Matthew Brady photos of our lost, brave soldiers now housed at Antietam NHP unveiled a new phase in the perception of death and dying to the American public.

    Abstract:
    The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans – North and South alike – to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind – often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own. Alexander Gardner, employed by photography gallery owner Mathew Brady, took seventy photographs of the battlefield, including the dead, starting just two days after the battle. This was the first time an American battlefield had ever been photographed before the dead had been buried. Gardner returned in early October and took another series of images.
    This podcast will explore, examine, and discuss the impact of the massive number of casualties not only at Antietam, but during the Civil War as a whole. Antietam NHP will be the focal National Park as the site that not only had the largest number of single-day casualties, but also the site where the first photographs of death and of war casualties were taken and thus made available to the American public. A key introduction to this podcast might include: “Imagine two percent of the population of the United States… Can you do it? While two percent may not seem like much, two percent of our nation’s population is approximately six million people. Now imagine those same six million people, gone. Over the course of four years, all of them are dead. We cannot even fathom such horrors today, yet 150 years ago, a two percent population loss was the brutal reality of the bloodiest war in American history – the Civil War.” Major components that should be discussed regarding death in the Civil War include, but are not limited to the following: Approximately 620,000 lives lost over the course of the War; Loss of life six times greater than WWII; Lives lost during the Civil War were approximately equal to the addition of the totals lost in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War; Confederate soldiers died at a rate three times faster than Yankee counterparts; One in five Confederate soldiers did not survive the war; Twice as many soldiers died from disease and sanitation issues than died of battle wounds; and Civilian casualties included deaths from the spread of disease, raids, and starvation and are approximated at 50,000 losses.
    The photographs that came out of Antietam can be viewed as a progressive change in the way the American public viewed war and death. Antietam houses the photos at the site, and displays the images at twelve corresponding locations. The Visitor’s Center uses one of Gardner’s photos as a main introduction to the site. Gardner’s photographs are not only intriguing because they were the first, but also because of the nature of death in the Civil War. Soldiers were buried where they fell, then later extracted and re-interred. Many bodies were missed and some are still being found today. Photojournalism, it can be argued, arose out of this tragic event in American history and no event had ever received so much media coverage.
    In September of 1862, the first images of war were created. As noted, the photographs that were produced at the battlefield at Antietam were the first to depict the tragic and bloody truth of the Civil War through the lens of photographer Alexander Gardner in pair with his assistant James Gibson. Gardner not only photographed, but also used a stereograph, which intensified his subject by use of its three-dimensional nature. Like the child 3-D viewers of today, two lenses capture two simultaneous photographs, and when seen through a viewer, the mind creates a three-dimensional image. Across the country, parlors possessed the viewers, intensifying the spread of war images. Seventy of the ninety images Gardner took at Antietam were stereographs. Gardner’s original photographs were put on display at Mathew Brady’s gallery in New York City. The public was shocked and appalled. The New York Times stated that Brady was able to “bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along streets, he has done something very like it…”1
    A major component of this podcast should be relating the massive amounts of death during the Civil War and specifically at Antietam by comparison to other more recent events. As the single bloodiest day of Civil War, Antietam proves to be a valuable comparison to the casualties and loss of life to other historical American events such as the terrorist attacks on 9/11, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, and even Iraq/Afghanistan war. This will provide for a greater emotional appeal for the audience.

  4. Melissa Swank says:

    ARHO/Arlington National Cemetery Update:

    I’ve completed a thorough bibliography for ARHO/Arlington National Cemetery. BUT this is the THIRD time I’ve had Open Office shut down on me tonight. Thank God for Zotero. I’m well on my way to a complete Podcast proposal for Death and Dying, and Reconciliation/Commemoration isn’t far behind thanks to fabulous Park staff. Getting frustrated with technology though and about ready to sign off.

  5. Melissa Swank says:

    ANTI Update

    Alexander Gardner’s Photos:
    http://www.nps.gov/anti/photosmultimedia/Historic-Photogaphs.htm

    Photography at Antietam:
    http://www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/photography.htm

    These were the first images of death for the public to view during the Civil War.

  6. Melissa Swank says:

    JELA Update:
    Today I found some interesting material on the Louisiana Native Guard and their being the first Black Americans to join the Union Army and fight in the Civil War. Most of these soldiers are buried in JELA’s Chalmette National Cemetery. Linked with Sarah Wakeman, these two stories, I feel, can be a compelling narrative of soldier stories that are not from the typical, white, male perspective. Changes in how death was viewed and mourned can be addressed in light of these “anti”-typical soldiers’ deaths.

    “The Louisiana Native Guards” – http://www2.netdoor.com/~jgh/index.html
    This site is excellent for primary and secondary source material as related to the Louisiana Native Guards.

  7. melissaswank says:

    Having communicated with all of my parks, I have a good feel for themes, theme statements, tangibles, intangibles, and universals for each park. This upcoming week I will begin ideas for actual outlines/narratives for each specific podcast.

    Antietam
    Theme: Massive Death – The bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.

    Theme Statement: The Matthew Brady photos of our lost, brave soldiers now housed at Antietam unveiled a new phase in the perception of death and dying to the American public.

    Abstract: The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans – North and South alike – to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind – often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.

    Tangibles:
    Matthew Brady – Alexander Gardener Photos
    “Battle Aftermath” Exhibit UPCOMING
    Shovel
    Headboards
    The Bloody Lane

    Intangibles:
    Perception of life and death
    Photography

    Universals:
    Death
    Transcendence
    Bravery
    Pain
    Grief
    Loss
    Survival
    Change
    Love
    Faith
    Family
    Sacrifice
    Freedom

    Jean Lafitte
    Theme: Anti-Typical Death – Points of view, non-soldier deaths, mourning practice changes.

    Theme Statement: The commemorative headstone of “Lyons” Wakeman reveals that no one was left untouched by the grief and mourning caused by death during the Civil War.

    Abstract: How American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying, and how the nation ultimately did – and did not – face up to this new reality of war are haunting and powerful stories. The Civil War shattered preconceived notions of American life – and death, and helped to reshape and redefine the ways in which we mourn and celebrate the dead.

    Tangibles:
    Civil War Headstones:
    “Lyons” Wakeman
    “Sometimes remarkable stories are where you least expect to find them. This simple Civil War headstone at Chalmette National Cemetery marks the final resting place of a woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for her country.”
    Chamette Cemetery

    Intangibles:
    Grief/Mourning
    Values
    Commemoration

    Universals:
    Death
    Transcendence
    Bravery
    Pain
    Grief
    Loss
    Survival
    Change
    Love
    Faith
    Family
    Sacrifice
    Freedom
    Race

    Arlington National Cemetery
    Theme: Burial-Federal Response

    Theme Statement: The creation of Arlington National Cemetery is a direct response to the loss, memory, and deaths of the heroes and civilians that deserved recognition out of the Civil War.

    Abstract: The Civil War revolutionized the American military’s approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. After the war, a massive and superbly organized effort by the War Department to recover, identify, and rebury Union dead in newly established national cemeteries was an act of atonement for the nation’s failings during the war itself. The disruption and upset of death on the Nation during the Civil War has define the ways in which, even today, we view death.

    Tangibles:
    Cemetery
    Old Amphitheater
    Civil War Unknowns Monument
    Confederate Memorial
    Heroes

    Intangibles:
    Burial
    Creation of a National Cemetery
    Commemoration
    Memory
    Memorial Day
    Respect

    Universals:
    Death
    Transcendence
    Bravery
    Pain
    Grief
    Loss
    Survival
    Change
    Love
    Faith
    Family
    Sacrifice
    Freedom
    Honor

  8. melissaswank says:

    A First Shot at Theme Statements:
    Antietam:
    The Matthew Brady photos of our lost, brave soldiers now housed at Antietam unveiled a new phase in the perception of death and dying to the American public.

    Jean Lafitte:
    The commemorative headstone of “Lyons” Wakeman reveals that no one was left untouched by the grief and mourning caused by death during the Civil War.

    Arlington National Cemetery:
    The creation of Arlington National Cemetery is a direct response to the loss, memory, and deaths of the heroes and civilians that deserved recognition out of the Civil War.

  9. melissaswank says:

    The formation of the cemetery as laid out by the park service:
    http://www.nps.gov/arho/historyculture/cemetery.htm

    “The Beginnings of Arlington National Cemetery

    On the spring of 1864, as the Civil War entered its third year, the Union Army began an offensive designed to finally crush the Confederate Army. As fighting intensified, Washington hospitals—in many cases, converted churches, public halls, or governmental buildings—were flooded with wounded soldiers, brought up the Potomac from battlefields in Virginia and elsewhere.[21]

    Describing the hospitals, Washington journalist Noah Brooks wrote: “Maimed and wounded…. arrived by hundreds as long as the waves of sorrow came streaming back from the fields of slaughter…. They came groping, hobbling, and faltering, so faint and so longing for rest that one’s heart bled at the piteous sight.”[22] As many of these men died, cemeteries in the city and surrounding areas filled to capacity.

    To relieve the desperate situation, the Army started burying soldiers along the northern border of the Arlington estate, approximately one half mile from the mansion-headquarters, in May of 1864.[23]Meanwhile, the office of Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs set about the task of identifying an appropriate place for a new, offical cemetery. Meigs did not have to look very far.

    As the Army had occupied Arlington since 1861 and the U.S. Government had legally purchased the property at public auction in January 1864, it emerged as a logical choice. The fact that the land had also been the plantation home of Robert E. Lee probably made it even more attractive to Meigs, who formally proposed Arlington as the site of the new cemetery in a letter to Secretary of War Stanton on June 15, 1864. The same day, Stanton approved Meigs’ recommendation and instructed that part of the Arlington Estate, “not exceeding two hundred acres” be surveyed and laid out for the national cemetery.[24]

    The Republican press hailed the choice of Arlington. On June 17, the National Republican reported:

    The ‘powers that be’ have been induced to appropriate two hundred acres, immediately around the house of General Lee, on Arlington Heights, for the burial of soldiers dying in the army hospitals of this city. The grounds are undulating, handsomely adorned, and in very respect admirably fitted for the sacred purpose to which they have been dedicated. The people of the entire nation will one day, not very far distant, heartily thank the initiators of this movement…. This and the contraband establishment there are righteous uses of the estate of the rebel General Lee, and will never dishonor the spot made venerable by the occupation of Washington.[25]

    Meigs likely appreciated the prediction that Americans would one day “heartily thank the initiators of this movement.” He viewed the creation of the cemetery as a means for restoring honor to the property, which he felt Lee had dishonored by resigning from the U.S. Army and leading the Confederate forces.

    However, the Quartermaster General was not convinced that the cemetery was necessarily permanent, fearing that the end of the War might allow the Lees to resume control over Arlington and potentially remove the graves on the property. In hopes of preventing such from occurring, Meigs wanted to place graves as close to the mansion as possible. Doing so, he felt, would make the house uninhabitable. In his original proposal to Secretary Stanton, Meigs specified:

    I have visited and inspected the grounds now used as a Cemetery upon the Arlington Estate. I recommend that interments in this ground be discontinued and that the land surrounding the Arlington Mansion, now understood to be the property of the United States, be appropriated as a National Cemetery, to be properly enclosed, laid out, and carefully preserved for that purpose, and that the bodies recently interred by removed to the National Cemetery thus to be established. The grounds about the Mansion are admirably adapted for such a use.[26]

    Though Meigs’ initial proposal to Stanton and subsequent orders to officers at Arlington clearly spelled out the Quartermaster General’s intentions, the cemetery did not develop quite as he envisioned. At first, most of the burials were made some distance from the mansion. As Meigs recorded later, many of the officers quartered in the mansion were uncomfortable with the idea of living in the middle of a graveyard, “It was my intention to have begun the interments nearer the mansion, but opposition on the part of officers stationed at Arlington, some of whom used the mansion and who did not like to have the dead buried near them, caused the interments to be begun in the northeast corner of the grounds near Arlington road. On discovering this on a visit I gave specific instructions to make the burials near the mansion. They were then driven off by the same influence to the western portion of the grounds.”[27]

    “A brother of Genl. Lee (Smith Lee) in a recent visit to Arlington, remarked… that the house could still be made a pleasant residence by fencing off the Cemetery and removing the officers buried around the garden.” Col. J.M. Moore to Maj. Gen. D.H. Rucker. December 11, 1865

    Meigs continued to push the issue and, after considerable effort, finally got his wish. In August 1864, 26 bodies were buried along the perimeter of Mrs. Lee’s rose garden within a few yards of the mansion.[28] But, as evidenced by a December 1865 letter from one of Meigs’ assistants, the location of new graves remained a very important issue to the cemetery’s creator for some time to come as he sought to further solidify the cemetery’s roots at Arlington.

    This letter, directed to Major General D.H. Rucker, the Chief Quartermaster of Washington read, in part: “The Quartermaster General….some time ago, expressed his regret, that the interments have not been made in close proximity to the Arlington House…. as to more firmly secure the grounds known as the National Cemetery, to the Government by rendering it undesirable as a future residence or homestead. There being more than a thousand interments yet to be made, the views of the Quartermaster General can now be carried out.”

    To underscore the urgency and importance of burying the dead close to the house, the Assistant Quartermaster closed his letter by relaying the following story: “A brother of Genl. Lee (Smith Lee) in a recent visit to Arlington, remarked to the Superintendent, ‘that the house could still be made a pleasant residence, by fencing off the Cemetery, and removing the officers buried around the garden.’”[29]

    Smith Lee’s appraisal obviously alarmed the Assistant Quartermaster and undoubtedly also Meigs himself. Both practically and symbolically, the possibility of Robert E. Lee and his family returning to the mansion on the hilltop at Arlington which literally looked down upon the capital city of the United States did not sit well with those in charge of creating the cemetery. To further ensure that this did not happen, Meigs ordered the construction of a tomb for unknown Civil War dead in the rose garden in April 1866. The remains of 2,111 unknown soldiers, recovered from battlefields in the vicinity of Washington, were sealed in the vault.[30] They joined some 15,000 other Civil War casualties who had already been laid to rest at Arlington.

    As it turned out, the Lees would never return to live at Arlington again. Whether influenced by Meigs’ efforts to make the mansion uninhabitable or not, Robert E. Lee and his wife decided not to pursue regaining the title to the mansion after the War.[31] Instead, the former Confederate General and his family settled in Lexington, Virginia where he spent the last five years of his life as the President of tiny Washington College. While the family was later compensated for the estate, the Lees would never again reside on the property.[32] Meigs got his wish and the Cemetery became a permanent feature at Arlington.

    References

    [21] Herbert Mitgang, ed. Washington, D.C. In Lincoln’s Time: A Memoir of the Civil War Era by the Newspaperman Who Knew Lincoln Best by Noah Brooks (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1989), 16-17.

    [22]Mitgang, 16-17.

    [23] The grave of William Christman, a Private from the 67th Pennsylvania is the oldest military grave at Arlington. Christman was laid to rest on May 13, 1864.

    [24] Letter, Sec. Edwin M. Stanton to Quartermaster Gen. Montgomery Meigs, June 15, 1864. Copy in Arlington House archives. Original at National Archives, Records of the War Department, Office of the Quartermaster General, National Cemeterial Files.

    [25] National Republican, June 17, 1864

    [26] Letter, Quartermaster Gen. Montgomery Meigs to Sec. Edwin M. Stanton, June 15, 1864. Copy in Arlington House archives. Original at National Archives, Records of the War Department, Office of the Quartermaster General, National Cemeterial Files.

    [27] Memorandum, Quartermaster Gen. Montgomery Meigs, April 12, 1873. National Archives, RG 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Records relating to functions: Cemeterial, 1829-1929. General correspondence and reports relating to national and post cemeteries (“Cemetery file”), 1865-c. 1914. Antietam, MD-Arlington, VA, Box 6, NM-81, Entry 576.

    [28] James Edward Peters, Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America’s Heroes, 2nd ed. (Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2000), 23.

    [29] Letter, Col. J.M. Moore to Maj. Gen. D.H. Rucker, Dec. 11, 1865. National Archives, RG 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Records relating to functions: cemeterial, 1829-1929. General correspondence and reports relating to national and post cemeteries (“Cemetery file”), 1865-c. 1914. Arlington, VA, Box 7, NM-81, Entry 576.

    [30] Peters, 23.

    [31] Peters, 28. According to Peters, the Lees’ decision not to pursue the title of the property was probably more influenced by Lee’s belief that to do so would heighten sectional hostilities and hamper the Reconstruction process, rather than concerns about the graves on the property.

    [32] After Robert E. Lee and his wife died in the early 1870s, their oldest son, Custis Lee, brought suit against the U.S. Government in attempt to regain title to the estate. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Custis Lee’s favor. He was compensated $150,000 in exchange for the property, thereby ending any legal claim the Lees had on Arlington.”

  10. melissaswank says:

    Arlington National Cemetery

    • melissaswank says:

      Call – 2/10/11 – Brandon Bies – 9:15am
      Notes:
      Called, left message. Will email personally. 9:35am.

      Hi Brandon,

      As mentioned in my voicemail, I am planning on using Arlington National Cemetery as the key park for my proposal in the “Death and Dying” theme on burial and federal response during the Civil War.

      The theme for Arlington with be: Burial and Federal Response
      And will focus on the thematic aspects laid out by “Holding the High Ground”:
      “The Civil War revolutionized the American military’s approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. After the war, a massive and superbly organized effort by the War Department to recover, identify, and rebury Union dead in newly established national cemeteries was an act of atonement for the nation’s failings during the war itself. The disruption and upset of death on the Nation during the Civil War has define the ways in which, even today, we view death.”

      The main points of interest to be covered at this point include:
      *The nation worked to give loss meaning, including the newly recognized responsibility of care for the dead.
      *Cemeteries were intended to memorialize the slain and celebrate the nation’s fallen heroes.
      *Clara Barton’s office of Missing Men of the United States Army.
      *Federally supported reburial program.
      *The officially established national cemetery system.
      *Official identification system for soldiers.
      *Reinterred process.

      Finally, using the National Parks’ guidelines for interpretation, we would like to identify primary sources and tangible objects of each of the parks chosen in order to create not only an emotional appeal, but also draw the public into the parks. For Arlington, I was considering the following:

      Tangible: Cemetery
      Intangible: Burial
      Universal: Death and Transcendence

      Because the theme is death and dying, my universal will be death. Which tangible/intangible items do you feel would best represent Arlington in this theme? Having never visited Arlington, I want to be sure that I am accurate in my proposal. How do you feel about this work so far? Is there anything you would like to add or be sure that I do not miss?

      Thanks for your time and help,
      Melissa Swank
      Portland State University Student, Graduate of Public History

  11. melissaswank says:

    Jean Lafitte NP’s Connection to Death and Dying in the Civil War:
    “The Civil War marked a departure from a general conception of who should die, when and where, and how they ought to die.

    Pre-Civil War, there were high levels of infant mortality, however if one survived infancy and youth it was fair to assume that they would survive until at least middle age.

    The War on the other hand, was notorious for destroying men in the prime of their lives, and those who entered the war were five times more likely to die than those who did not.

    Protestant impact, death was understood within the context of Christian faith and salvation.

    There were 132 Confederate prisoners of war interred in Chalmette National Cemetery. In 1868, the Ladies Benevolent Association of New Orleans received permission to remove the Confederate remains to Cypress Grove Cemetery in New Orleans. 

    Is this cemetery the oldest national cemetery?
    Chalmette National Cemetery is not the oldest national cemetery, but it is the oldest in-ground cemetery in the New Orleans area. President Abraham Lincoln approved legislation on July 17, 1862, establishing national cemeteries for armed forces that fought for the United States. Chalmette National Cemetery was established in May of 1864.

    What is the earliest burial at the cemetery?
    The earliest burial was just after the cemetery was established in 1864. The first burials were disinterred soldiers from local hospital cemeteries in New Orleans which continued until 1866. Between 1867 and 1868, over 7,000 internments would be from surrounding city and fortification cemeteries.

    Rosetta Wakeman disguised herself as a man under the name of Lyons Wakeman and joined the New York Volunteer Infantry. She was stationed at nearby Jackson Barracks where she died of dysentery in 1865. She is in Section # 52, Grave # 4066.”

  12. melissaswank says:

    Anti-Typical Death – Jean Lafitte – Carol Clark – Call at 10:55am – transferred to Elizabeth Dupree
    (Chief Resource Ed)

    Elizabeth’s Suggestions:
    Wetlands Center
    **Chalmette Battlefield – This seems like the key link to the park and this theme.
    Cultural Center in downtown

    Theme: Anti-Typical Death – Points of view, non-soldier deaths, mourning practice changes.
    Abstract: How American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying, and how the nation ultimately did – and did not – face up to this new reality of war are haunting and powerful stories. The Civil War shattered preconceived notions of American life – and death, and helped to reshape and redefine the ways in which we mourn and celebrate the dead.

    Tangible: Civil War Headstones
    Intangible: Grief
    Universal: Death

    Main points:
    The Civil War marked a departure from a general conception of who should die, when and where, and how they ought to die.
    Pre-Civil War, there were high levels of infant mortality, however if one survived infancy and youth it was fair to assume that they would survive until at least middle age.
    The War on the other hand, was notorious for destroying men in the prime of their lives, and those who entered the war were five times more likely to die than those who did not.
    Protestant impact, death was understood within the context of Christian faith and salvation.

    Follow-up Email at 11:25am:

    “Hi Elizabeth,

    As mentioned in our conversation, I am planning on using Jean Lafitte as the key park for my proposal in the “Death and Dying” theme on anti-typical death during the Civil War, and links where others might not associate this site with the Civil War.

    The theme for Jean Lafitte with be:
    Anti-Typical Death – Points of view, non-soldier deaths, mourning practice changes.

    And will focus on the thematic aspects laid out by “Holding the High Ground”:
    “How American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying, and how the nation ultimately did – and did not – face up to this new reality of war are haunting and powerful stories. The Civil War shattered preconceived notions of American life – and death, and helped to reshape and redefine the ways in which we mourn and celebrate the dead.”

    The main points of interest to be covered at this point include:
    *The Civil War marked a departure from a general conception of who should die, when and where, and how they ought to die.
    *Pre-Civil War, there were high levels of infant mortality, however if one survived infancy and youth it was fair to assume that they would survive until at least middle age.
    *The War on the other hand, was notorious for destroying men in the prime of their lives, and those who entered the war were five times more likely to die than those who did not.
    *Protestant impact, death was understood within the context of Christian faith and salvation.

    Finally, using the National Parks’ guidelines for interpretation, we would like to identify primary sources and tangible objects of each of the parks chosen in order to create not only an emotional appeal, but also draw the public into the parks. For Jean Lafitte, I was considering the following which is also a tangible reference:
    Civil War Headstones: “Sometimes remarkable stories are where you least expect to find them. This simple Civil War headstone at Chalmette National Cemetery marks the final resting place of a woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for her country.”

    Because the theme is death and dying, my universal will be death. Which tangible/intangible items do you feel would best represent Jean Lafitte in this theme? Having never visited Jean Lafitte, I want to be sure that I am accurate in my proposal. How do you feel about this work so far? Is there anything you would like to add or be sure that I do not miss?

    Thanks for your time and help,
    Melissa Swank
    Portland State University Student, Graduate of Public History”

  13. melissaswank says:

    Death and Dying:
    Massive Loss of Life – Antietam – Ed Wenschhof (Acting Temporary Superintendent)
    Out of the office. Left a message. Sent a follow-up email.

    “Hi Ed,

    As mentioned in my voicemail, I am planning on using Antietam as the key park for my proposal in the “Death and Dying” theme on massive loss of life during the Civil War.

    The theme for Antietam with be:
    Massive Death – The bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.
    And will focus on the thematic aspects laid out by “Holding the High Ground”:
    “The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans – North and South alike – to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind – often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.”

    The main points of interest to be covered at this point include:
    “Imagine two percent of the population of the United States… Can you do it? While two percent may not seem like much, two percent of our nation’s population is approximately six million people. Now imagine those same six million people, gone. Over the course of four years, all of them are dead. We cannot even fathom such horrors today, yet 150 years ago, a two percent population loss was the brutal reality of the bloodiest war in American history – the Civil War.”
    *Approximately 620,000 lives lost over the course of the War.
    *Loss of life six times greater than WWII.
    *Lives lost approximately equal to the addition of the totals lost in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.
    *Confederate soldiers died at a rate three times faster than Yankee counterparts.
    *One in five Confederate soldiers did not survive the war.
    *Twice as many soldiers died from disease and sanitation issues than died of battle wounds.
    *Civilian casualties included deaths from the spread of disease, raids, and starvation and are approximated at 50,000 losses.

    Finally, using the National Parks’ guidelines for interpretation, we would like to identify primary sources and tangible objects of each of the parks chosen in order to create not only an emotional appeal, but also draw the public into the parks. For Antietam, I was considering the following:
    Battle Report of Capt. John A. Tompkins
    http://www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/tompkins-rpt.htm
    As well as first-hand accounts:
    “As night drew nearer, whispers of a great battle to be fought the next day grew louder, and we shuddered at the prospect, for battles had come to mean to us, as they never had before, blood, wounds, and death.”
              Mary Bedinger Mitchell, (Resident of Shepherdstown)
     “…I began to feel wretchedly faint of heart, for it seemed timely that the coming of battle meant my certain death.”
              Pvt. Ezra E. Stickley, Company A, 5th Virginia Infantry

    Because the theme is death and dying, my universal will be death. Which tangible/intangible items do you feel would best represent Antietam in this theme? Having never visited Antietam, I want to be sure that I am accurate in my proposal. How do you feel about this work so far? Is there anything you would like to add or be sure that I do not miss?

    Thanks for your time and help,
    Melissa Swank
    Portland State University Student, Graduate of Public History”

    • melissaswank says:

      Antietam Follow-up
      I was directed to a new point-man at Antietam, and i spoke with him this morning:

      2/10/11 – 7:53am – Follow-up with:
      Ranger Brian Baracz

      Tangible: Visuals – first to be viewed by American public.
      *First photos of Civil War dead.
      *Matthew Brady (displayed and took credit), Alexander Gardener (photographer).
      *Antietam, houses the photos at the specific site – 12 spots.
      *Visitor’s center, the photo is a main introduction to the site.

      Artifacts:
      The aftermath of battle, opening soon, battlefield
      Shovel to bury dead, headboards…

      Other Key Points:
      Soldiers were buried where they fell, then extracted… Some were missed, still being found.
      Lee’s first invasion of the North leading to emancipation.

      Relating to today – Main idea for “Death and Dying” theme:
      *Single bloodiest day of Civil War – Relative comparisons to 9/11, D-Day, *Pearl Harbor; comparison to Iraq/Afghanistan casualties – Can link to today for further emotional connection.

  14. Melissa Swank says:

    Additions to Podcast I:
    I. Podcast: Death and Dying – By the Numbers in the Civil War (Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park)

    1. Theme Statement:
    The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans – North and South alike – to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind – often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.

    3. a. Tangible/Intangible/Universal:
    Stonewall Jackson Shrine (Tangible) – Nature (Intangible) – Family (Universal)

    b. Primary Resource/Document:
    Dr. McGuire’s account of Jackson’s death published in the Southern Historical Society Papers (http://www.huntermcguire.goellnitz.org/jacksondeath.html).

    5. Outline/Script:
    I think it’d be an emotionally appealing idea to tell one man’s death tale while highlighting the numbers that were lost in the war. Using “Stonewall” Jackson’s story (see link below) would create a cohesive narrative, an emotional appeal, and a very real tangible at the park site.

    “Stonewall’s” Story: http://www.nps.gov/frsp/js.htm.

  15. Melissa Swank says:

    Final List of Park Sites for “Death and Dying” Theme:

    Antietam National Battlefield (ANCM)
    Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park (FRSP)
    Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (JELA)

  16. Pingback: Parks to Illustrate CW150 Themes: A Preliminary List | Interpreting the American Civil War

  17. Melissa Swank says:

    I have begun outlining the three podcasts for this theme, none are complete, although some are more so than others. Let me know what you think!

    I. Podcast: Death and Dying – By the Numbers in the Civil War

    1. Theme Statement: The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans – North and South alike – to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind – often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.

    2. Abstract (one to two paragraphs that describes and summarizes your proposed episode. Be sure to articulate how it supports the NPS’ goals in Holding the High Ground):

    3. a. Tangible/Intangible/Universal:

    b. Primary Resource/Document (including letters, quotes, artifacts, and images):

    c. Secondary Sources:

    McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Ballantine, 1989.

    Paluden, Phillip Shaw. “A People’s Contest”: The Union and the Civil War, 1861–1865. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.

    Slotkin, Richard. Regeneration through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600 –1860. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1973.

    Steiner, Peter E. Disease in the Civil War: Natural Biological Warfare, 1861–1865. Springfield, IL: C. C. Thomas, 1968.

    Vinovskis, Maris A., ed. Toward a Social History of the American Civil War: Exploratory Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

    Wells, Robert V. Revolutions in Americans’ Lives: A Demographic Perspective on the History of Americans, Their Families, and Their Society. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982.
    d. Contacts:

    4. Notes/Misc.:
    “Imagine two percent of the population of the United States… Can you do it? While two percent may not seem like much, two percent of our nation’s population is approximately six million people. Now imagine those same six million people, gone. Over the course of four years, all of them are dead. We cannot even fathom such horrors today, yet 150 years ago, a two percent population loss was the brutal reality of the bloodiest war in American history – the Civil War.”
    Approximately 620,000 lives lost over the course of the War.
    Loss of life six times greater than WWII.
    Lives lost approximately equal to the addition of the totals lost in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.
    Confederate soldiers died at a rate three times faster than Yankee counterparts.
    One in five Confederate soldiers did not survive the war.
    Twice as many soldiers died from disease and sanitation issues than died of battle wounds.
    Civilian casualties included deaths from the spread of disease, raids, and starvation and are approximated at 50,000 losses.

    5. Outline/Script:

    II. Podcast: Death and Dying – Unprecedented and Unnatural in the Civil War (Antietam National Battlefield)

    1. Theme Statement: How American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying, and how the nation ultimately did – and did not – face up to this new reality of war are haunting and powerful stories.

    2. Abstract (one to two paragraphs that describes and summarizes your proposed episode. Be sure to articulate how it supports the NPS’ goals in Holding the High Ground):
    The Civil War shattered preconceived notions of American life – and death, and helped to reshape and redefine the ways in which we mourn and celebrate the dead.

    3. a. Tangible/Intangible/Universal:
    The Mumma Bible (Tangible) -Faith (Intangible) – Transcendence (Universal)

    b. Primary Resource/Document (including letters, quotes, artifacts, and images):
    “As night drew nearer, whispers of a great battle to be fought the next day grew louder, and we shuddered at the prospect, for battles had come to mean to us, as they never had before, blood, wounds, and death.”
              Mary Bedinger Mitchell, (Resident of Shepherdstown)
     “…I began to feel wretchedly faint of heart, for it seemed timely that the coming of battle meant my certain death.”
              Pvt. Ezra E. Stickley, Company A, 5th Virginia Infantry

    c. Secondary Sources:

    Farrell, James J. Inventing the American Way of Death, 1830–1920. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980.

    Faust, Drew Gilpin. “The Civil War Soldier and the Art of Dying.” The Journal of Southern History 67, no. 1 (2001):3–40.

    Fredrickson, George M. The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union. New York: Harper and Row, 1965.

    Jackson, Charles O., ed. Passing: The Vision of Death in America. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1977.

    Laderman, Gary. The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes toward Death, 1799–1883. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

    Miller, Randall M., Harry S. Stout, and Charles Reagan Wilson, eds. Religion and the American Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

    Moorhead, James H. American Apocalypse: Yankee Protestants and the Civil War, 1860 –1869. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978.

    Saum, Lewis O. The Popular Mood of America, 1860 –1890. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

    Shattuck, Gardiner H., Jr. A Shield and a Hiding Place: The Religious Life of the Civil War Armies. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987.

    Wilson, Charles Reagan. Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865–1920. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980.

    d. Contacts:

    4. Notes/Misc.:
    The Civil War marked a departure from a general conception of who should die, when and where, and how they ought to die.
    Pre-Civil War, there were high levels of infant mortality, however if one survived infancy and youth it was fair to assume that they would survive until at least middle age.
    The War on the other hand, was notorious for destroying men in the prime of their lives, and those who entered the war were five times more likely to die than those who did not.
    Protestant impact, death was understood within the context of Christian faith and salvation.

    5. Outline/Script:
    III. Podcast: Death and Dying – The Results and Aftermath of Death in the Civil War

    1. Theme Statement: The Civil War revolutionized the American military’s approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. After the war, a massive and superbly organized effort by the War Department to recover, identify, and rebury Union dead in newly established national cemeteries was an act of atonement for the nation’s failings during the war itself.

    2. Abstract (one to two paragraphs that describes and summarizes your proposed episode. Be sure to articulate how it supports the NPS’ goals in Holding the High Ground):
    The disruption and upset of death on the Nation during the Civil War has define the ways in which, even today, we view death.

    3. a. Tangible/Intangible/Universal:

    b. Primary Resource/Document (including letters, quotes, artifacts, and images):

    c. Secondary Sources:
    Adams, George Washington. Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War. New York: Henry Schuman, 1952.

    Linderman, Gerald F. Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War. New York: Free Press, 1987.

    Linenthal, Edward. Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991.

    MacCloskey, Monro. Hallowed Ground: Our National Cemeteries. New York: Richards Rosen, 1969.

    Mayer, Robert G. Embalming: History, Theory, and Practice. Norwalk, CT: Appleton and Lange, 1990.

    Sloane, David Charles. The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

    d. Contacts:

    4. Notes/Misc.:

    5. Outline/Script:

  18. Melissa Swank says:

    Here are a few things I have been thinking regarding the logistics of the podcasts:

    *Since time is a limitation and these are meant to be “teasers” to get people to the parks, I am thinking that one major park be highlighted in each podcast. At 48 podcasts and 40 parks, only a couple will see overlap. This also means that each of the podcasts in a particular theme should highlight a different park.

    *Again with a time restriction, I think one primary source as a tangible object would work well to focus a particular episode around. If at all possible, I feel that the object should be a resource at which ever park is being promoted. This will draw the audience in to not only the podcast, but also a greater sense of what to expect at the park.

  19. Melissa Swank says:

    Group 3

    Like all (?) of the groups, we (group 3) have divided our themes up, one per person with us each fostering one episode/podcast of the final theme. I have “Death and Dying,” Shawn has “The Changing War,” and Brandon has “Reconstruction.” Our final theme, “Reconciliation, Commemoration, and Preservation” will be a collaboration of the three of us. As Greg mentioned in class on Friday, since we have the smaller group and less themes, we will also be working together on the issues of target audience, introductions, and comparative standards for the podcasts.

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