Histopolis Place-of-the-Day

Histopolis features a different cemetery, town, county or other place every day on the Place-of-The-Day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Histopolis Place-of-the-Day for Thursday, November 25, 2010 is the Memphis National Cemetery in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.

"Memphis originated as a campground of the Chickasaw nation. The first European explorer, Hernando De Soto, arrived in 1541 and claimed the territory for Spain. More than a century later, in 1682, the French would also claim the land on behalf of King Louis XIV. It was not until 1797 that the United States took possession of the territory and erected Fort Adams. In 1818, the Chickasaw signed a treaty granting much of what is West Tennessee to the United States. A year later, three Nashville speculators founded the city of Memphis: John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson, future president of the United States.

"Once Memphis fell under Union control, it became a convenient location to care for the sick and wounded troops flooding in from surrounding areas. General hospitals capable of caring for thousands of men at a time were set up in and around the city. A board of officers who purchased 32 acres northeast of the city chose the cemetery site. It was originally known as Mississippi River National Cemetery. At the end of the war, burials included reinterments from camps and hospitals throughout the region.

"Memphis has the second-largest group of unknowns interred in any national cemetery. The large quantity of unknowns may be attributed to the long interval between battlefield burial and reinterment at Memphis National Cemetery. Often, the crude wood markers that identified original burials had been removed or deteriorated to the point where they were no longer legible. As soldiers were not required to carry personal identification, it was often difficult to determine the identity of the remains.

"Memphis National Cemetery is also the burial place of the victims of one of the nation’s most tragic maritime disasters—the explosion of the USS Sultana. On April 23, 1865, after undergoing boiler repairs, the vessel had picked up a number of Union prisoners of war released from Andersonville prison in Georgia and Cahaba prison in Alabama. The captain, a part owner of the vessel, was paid $5 a head for enlisted men and $10 for officers, so he did not baulk when the steamer was overloaded with passengers. The USS Sultana was certified to carry 376 passengers, but it carried well over 2,000 soldiers anxious to return home.

"The steamer left Vicksburg and reached Memphis on the evening of April 26, where the passengers heard the news of President Lincoln’s assassination. From Memphis, the ship stopped at a coaling station on the Arkansas side of the river, bound for Cairo, Ill. About 2 a.m. a boiler exploded and the blast toppled the smokestack and cut the deck in two. Many men were killed instantly by the fire and steam, others began going over the side. Many of the wounded were put over the side to avoid the inferno, only to drown miles away. Only about 800 persons survived."

Explore Memphis National Cemetery on Histopolis now. If you have a place that you would like to see featured as the Histopolis Place-of-the-Day, contact the webmaster to suggest it.

November 2010

1Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside County, California
2Quincy National Cemetery, Quincy, Quincy Township, Adams County, Illinois
3Fort Custer National Cemetery, Ross Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan
4Finns Point National Cemetery, Pennsville Township, Salem County, New Jersey
5Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell Precinct, Lincoln County, Nebraska
6Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
7Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City Precinct, Pulaski County, Illinois
8West Virginia National Cemetery, Taylor County, West Virginia
9Lebanon National Cemetery, Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky
10Rock Island National Cemetery, Moline Township, Rock Island County, Illinois
11Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Big Rock Township, Pulaski County, Arkansas
12San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Merced County, California
13Marion National Cemetery, Marion, Center Township, Grant County, Indiana
14Port Hudson National Cemetery, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
15Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, Russell County, Alabama
16Mill Springs National Cemetery, Pulaski County, Kentucky
17Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Springfield Township, Greene County, Missouri
18Saint Augustine National Cemetery, Saint Augustine, Saint Johns County, Florida
19Confederate Cemetery, Alton, Alton Township, Madison County, Illinois
20Staunton National Cemetery, Staunton, Staunton City, Virginia
21Soldiers' Lot, Woodland Cemetery, Mound City, Mound City Township, Linn County, Kansas
22Soldiers' Lot, Baxter Springs Cemetery, Spring Valley Township, Cherokee County, Kansas
23Puerto Rico National Cemetery, Bayamón, Hato Tejas Barrio, Bayamón Municipio, Puerto Rico
24Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California
25Memphis National Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
26Grafton National Cemetery, Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia
27Crown Hill Confederate Plot, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana
28Soldiers' Lot, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine
29Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso County, Texas
30Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia



Note: The first Place-of-the-Day was in September 2010