Known Only To God, Confederate Dead at Gettysburg
Thousands of soldiers of the Confederacy had no tombstone, marker, or any identification after they were killed. Most were left in a mass graves, or buried in farmers fields, with no markers. Many of these graves that were marked lost their identity, some graves being leveled or ploughed over by farmers on whose land they were located.
The Confederates laid on Gettysburg battlefield for more than 10 years before being moved back to their home states in the South. If it wasn’t for the efforts of Dr. John W.C. O’Neal and Dr. Rufus B. Weaver.
In 1871, Dr Weaver began to collect the remains of the dead and ship them south. In 1871 he shipped 385 skeletons. He frequently worked 15 to 20 hours a day. By 1873 Some of the burial trenches had as many as 40 bodies in them, many of the individual bones becoming tangled up in the rotting uniforms and roots of trees and plants. Dr. Weaver sent over 2,200 bodies south. One deplorable fact was that some landowners refused to allow the bodies to be removed without being paid in cash. The case of LtCol David Winn, 4th Georgia. He was buried on V. Oliver Blocher’s farm and Blocher kept for himself a gold plate and teeth from the officer’s skull. He would not let Winn’s family have the dental set unless he was paid ten dollars.
The fact remains there are still Confederate dead at Gettysburg, Today, 150 years after the Civil War, & there are countless remains of soldiers buried on battle sites around the country. For many, a shallow grave near where they fell was the best they could hope for as an eternal resting place.
Sources : http://www.gatehouse-press.com/?p=1645 Sources: The Forgotten: Confederate Soldiers Who Died at Gettysburg Gettysburg Reb http://voices.yahoo.com/the-forgotten-confederate-soldiers-died-gettysburg-1325539.html?cat=37