Category Archives: confederate soldiers

Hollywood Cemetery – Confederate Section

IMG_1696

It is clear that the Confederate section of Hollywood Cemetery attempts to mimic the uniformity of a national cemetery. But as the losers of a bloody battle, the Confederate dead did not receive as much care and recognition from the US as compared to Union soldiers and soldiers of future wars. However, devoted souls of the south tried to give the Confederate dead the proper burial and recognition that soldiers deserve. Because of its spotty uniformity, it is important to take note of graves that are different from the rest and identify why they may be different.

This stone is about 1-2 inches thick and stands taller than all of the uniform confederate grave stones and even most of the other non-uniform grave stones. The tall monolithic presence of this stone embedded within a sea of uniform graves identifies it as different and separable from rest of the military graves. Because the sharp rectangular structure is simple yet so distinct from the others, one’s eye is immediately drawn to it because it conveys strength and sturdiness. But when one steps up to it and reads its inscription, he or she may be disappointed to see that it reads in the same fashion as all of the others. Yet one of the lines should stand out: “Age 17 years.” This short inscription answers the question of why this particular stone is so prominent and different from the others.

While death was plentiful during the civil war, death under the age of 18 was still fairly rare and definitely devastating to families and loved ones. The loved ones who designed this stone and its inscription wanted the dead young man to be remembered and separated from all of the other Confederate dead. Initially one may think that the ones left behind were bitter about this young man’s death and thus created a more distinct stone. However the Confederate symbols in the top corners suggest that this man was passionate enough about the Confederate cause to sacrifice his own life, and thus his family and loved ones attempt to signify that passion through a prominent grave stone.

In conclusion, the tallness of the stone and differentiation from the typical Confederate grave stone evokes a sense of importance and power that is not felt while looking over many uniform military graves. An initial reading of the inscription brings the stone back to uniformity, however William Wise’s young age at death suggests a reason for the difference and prominence of this stone. The Confederate symbols on the stone identify this man as passionate about the Confederate cause. This stone preserves the memory of this tragic young death while simultaneously conveying his passion for the Confederate army.

 

Unity in Confederate Graves at Hollywood Cemetery

When you visit a cemetery, you expect to see innumerable graves marking the ground where the dead is buried. However, the sheer number of graves isn’t what makes standing in the midst of Confederate graves that stretch for miles in every direction at Hollywood Cemetery unsettling.

Seemingly grouped according to where the soldiers fought and/or died in battle, there’s one cluster of gravestones that, quite literally, stands out. Veering off to the left of one of the main pathways lies a plot of graves organized as though they are Confederate soldiers on the front line.

IMG_8416

The field of grass separating the stones from the path and the organization into windows and rows invokes a feeling of facing the infantry head on.

What’s more, each one of the graves is structured similarly, mimicking soldiers in uniform. They are all about three feet tall, made of white marble, and have pointed tips. Even the inscriptions on each headstone are parallel. The rank, if any, appears at the top, followed by the soldier’s name in an arc below. Other information such as company, infantry, and dates of birth and death are listed beneath, all in the same font. Each grave is also decorated with an insignia that appears to be a shield with a wreath in it, and has a Confederate flag planted beside it.

The most peculiar piece of the plot, however, is this grave marked “Unknown Soldier.” Like the other soldiers’ graves in the plot, this grave is structured and built similarly and has both the insignia and the curved writing where the soldier’s name should be. It even includes the “CSA” or “Confederate States Army” inscription and the Confederate flag next to the stone.

IMG_8417

The soldier, though unknown, still received the same acknowledgement and respect as his fellow compatriots whose remains were identifiable at the time of their internment. This plot not only reveals that soldiers stood together– in every sense of the word– while in battle, but also died together in the same way. The way the soldiers, whether known or unknown, are memorialized in this plot displays a sense of unity among Southerners after the Civil War as they commemorate every soldier and his gallant sacrifice.