21 July 2014

Confederate graveyard - in Wisconsin!




This past week I went for a walk at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin. The oldest graves date back to the 1850s-1860s, many of them resting places for native-born Irish, the first settlers in the area.

Most old cemeteries in the eastern half of the United States have sections devoted to casualties of the American Civil War (1861-1865). I was startled to discover this cemetery also has a separate graveyard for Confederate soldiers! They were members of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment.

This Confederate cemetery is apparently the northernmost one in the country. The reason for its existence in Wisconsin is explained on the bronze marker above, and at this link and this link.

Addendum:  Updated from 2009 to add this video of a local group ("The Whiskey Farm") singing a tribute to the Confederate soldiers (lyrics here.  Warning: audio autostarts).

17 comments:

  1. I learned a tidbit of history today.I have learned several things previously from your blog. I'm not sure that's good for my aging brain. Do you think any permanent harm will result if I continue to read your blog?

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  2. If you take it day-by-day, you'll be o.k. If you want to tackle the archives, I suggest you do so via the categories in the right sidebar. Don't try to scroll back page-by-page through ever-changing topics. That way lies madness.

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  3. My understanding is that it is a convention for the Confederate gravestones to be peaked and the Union gravestones to be arched. Is that the cast in your cemetery?

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  4. The photo I took is of the Confederate graves; I don't have a picture of the Union ones.

    That's an interesting convention, and the first I've heard of it. I wonder what gave rise to it...

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  5. I just found this -

    "Most Confederate gravestones had a point in the middle similar to a chevron shape. Union gravestones did not have a point but had a somewhat half moon shape on the top of the stone.


    The reason was so that the damn yankees could not sit comfortable on the Confederate gravestones."

    source: http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/MessageTopic.asp?p=14800059&Pg=7

    perhaps some visitor to the blog can verify or dismiss this...

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  6. A handful of years ago, it became "legal" to bury the dead "with honor".

    Somewhere I have some pictures I took at a couple of the services. The government even provided new headstones. Reenactors did the 21 gun salute.

    I really enjoyed your article, it is so sad that they are not allowed their flag.

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  7. Eloh: The honored dead to which you refer were Americans.

    They are buried in an American cemetery under the American colors.

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  8. Sorry Shay, I wasn't clear.

    The American government finally made it legal to give Confederate Military Honors to the Confederate War Veterans. New headstones were provided by the American government on which CSA was marked. Theses soldiers of the conquered Army of The Confederate States of America were in the 1990's allowed a military funeral. The Confederate States had withdrawn from the "stars and bars" America and had their own flag.

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  9. So 140 died after being taken prisoner. Out of how many that were taken captive?

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  10. A point of information on flags. The Stars and Bars was in fact the official flag of the Confederacy: a layout similar to the Stars and Stripes with seven (or more) stars, three bars (two red, one white). The better-known St. Andrew's cross flag was the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Its subsequent adoption by Confederate veterans' organizations was a large factor in later generations' belief that it was the CSA flag.

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  11. Yes David, I errored in typing, sorry...I was a little stressed to have to explain it...it's a very different subject in the south.

    The Stars and Bars are considered the Confederate Battle flag and it is what IS flown in our cemeteries

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    Replies
    1. So, Eloh, should we fly the Nazi flag over the Nazi dead in the cemetery?

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  12. Finns point cemetary in nj has a memorial to over 2, 000 confederate pows that died at pea patch island (fort delaware). Some of the confederates are burried there. The cemetary also has 13 nazi soldiers burried there. These were pows from fort dix and they killed themselves rather than go back.

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    1. Interesting. I found some details here -

      http://www.capitalcentury.com/1945.html

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  13. It's been 20 some years since I lived in Madison, but IIRC, most of the Confederates buried there had been captured after being wounded and died of their wounds. Also, a Confederate Flag (maybe the Eastern Battle Flag) flew over that portion of the graveyard.

    With regard to the Fort Dix German Soldiers, unless I am mistaken, some of them were executed by the U.S. Government for various misdeeds during the war, including killing fellow German service members.

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    1. From what I could gather, the Nazi soldiers were from (I believe) Hungary. They knew if they went back then they would probably be executed by the Hungarian government or the civilians themselves. I base this info on the undertaker I talked to when I visited. Maybe he didnt want to talk about our soldiers executing prisoners. I know they are burried separate from all the other graves...in their own "section". The cemetary also includes American soldiers from wars up to Vietnam and also includes several unknowns. Either way it was intetesting to visit.

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