A National Cemetery System - Lemay, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 30.048 W 090° 17.285
15S E 736491 N 4264867
Quick Description: Behind the visitors center for the cemetery.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 9/6/2021 7:48:42 AM
Waymark Code: WM14XB2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 1

Long Description:

County of marker: St. Louis County
Location of marker: Jefferson Blvd. & Grant Dr., behind visitors center, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay
Erected By: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Erected: 2000

Marker Text:

A NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM
Civil War Dead A estimated 700,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil war between April 1861 and April 1865. As the death toll rose, the U.S. Government struggled with the urgent but unplanned need to bury fallen Union Troops. This propelled the creation of a national cemetery system.

On September 11, 1861, the War Department directed commanding officers to keep "accurate and permanent records of deceased soldiers." It also required the U.S. Army Quartermaster General, the office responsible for administrating to the needs of troops in life and in death, to mark each grave with a headboard. A few months later, the department mandated internment of the dead in graves marked with numbered headboards, recorded in a register.

Creating National Cemeteries
The authority to create military burial grounds came in a Omnibus Act of July 17, 1862. It directed the president to purchase land to be used as "a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of their country." Fourteen national cemeteries were established by 1862.

When hostilities ended, a grim task began. In October 1865, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs directed officers to survey lands in the Civil War theater to find Union dead and plan to reinter them in new national cemeteries. Cemetery sites were chosen where troops were concentrated" camps, hospitals, battlefields, railroad hubs. By 1872, 74 national cemeteries and several soldiers' lots contained 305,492 remains, about 45 percent were unknown.

Most cemeteries wee less than 10 acres, and layouts varied. In the Act to Establish and to Protect National Cemeteries of February 22, 1867, Congress funded new permanent walls or fences, grave markers, and lodges for cemetery superintendents.

At first only soldier or sailors who died during the Civil War were buried in national cemeteries. In 1873, eligibility was expanded to all honorably discharged Union veterans, and Congress appropriated $1 million to mark the graves. Upright marble headstones honor individuals whose names were known; 6-inch-square blocks marked unknowns.

By 1873, military post cemeteries on the Western frontier joined the national cemetery system. The National Cemeteries Act of 1973 transferred 82 Army cemeteries, including 12 of the original 14, to what is now the National Cemetery Association.

Reflection and Memorialization
The country reflected upon the Civil War human toll -- 2 percent of the U.S. population died. memorial honoring war service were built in national cemeteries. Most were donated by regimental units, state governments and veterans' organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic.
Decoration Day, later Memorial Day, was a popular patriotic spring event that started in 1868. Visitors placed flowers on graves and monuments, and gathered around rostrums to hear speeches. Construction of Civil War monuments peaked in the 1890s. By 1920, as the number of aging veterans was dwindling, more than 120 monuments had been placed in national cemeteries.

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