Histopolis Place-of-the-Day

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Histopolis Place-of-the-Day for Wednesday, January 5, 2011 is the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, Chemung County, New York.

"Woodlawn National Cemetery is located in Elmira, N.Y., in Chemung County. In 1861, the town was both a training and marshalling center for Union soldiers during the Civil War. As trainees were eventually assigned to military units and the barracks emptied, the federal government used the buildings as a prisoner-of-war camp. Originally known as Camp Rathbun, and designated Camp No. 3 during its existence from summer 1864 until the end of the war, this camp housed approximately 12,000 Confederate enlisted men. Approximately 3,000 men died here.

"Confederate POWs were transported by rail from locations such as Point Lookout, Md., and Old Capital Prison in Washington, D.C., to Elmira. Upon arrival, most of the captives were in poor physical condition, which was only exacerbated by their incarceration. While the weather was mild during summer and fall, in its first year approximately 900 prisoners were without housing until early January. Prison records show that men died from typhoid fever, dysentery and pneumonia, as well as malnutrition. The Confederates lacked adequate rations and medical care thanks to insufficient medical supplies. Prisoners infected with smallpox were often moved to a remote location and forgotten. It was not uncommon to see a frozen body lying outside a tent waiting to be loaded for transportation to the cemetery. Another contributing factor to the problem of disease was a stagnant pool known as Foster’s Pond. This pond stood between the camp and the river.

"Each day, deceased soldiers were placed in coffins and loaded on a buckboard wagon, up to nine at a time. The wagons traveled approximately a mile and a half to the cemetery, where a long trench was dug and the coffins placed in it side by side. At the time of the Confederate burials, John Jones, an escaped slave who found freedom in Elmira, was the sexton of Woodlawn Cemetery. He kept a meticulous record of each Confederate burial so that when, in 1907, the federal government was authorized to erect a small marble headstone at each grave, it was possible to inscribe them with the soldier’s name, company regiment and grave number.

"Beginning in February 1865, prisoners who swore allegiance to the Union were deemed eligible for release. Groups of approximately 500 men were allocated food rations, money and/or transportation vouchers and placed on a train bound for the major Union army supply depot in City Point, Va., where arrangements were made for the final trip home.

"Soldiers who survived were released in groups at the end of the war and provided the same assistance. Approximately 140 went to the regional army hospital in Elmira where they were treated until fit to travel. Seventeen of them never recovered and died in New York. By the end of 1865, the camp was fully closed and all buildings razed or moved to nearby locations.

"Woodlawn National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 6, 2004."

Explore Woodlawn 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.

January 2011

1Hampton VA National Cemetery, Hampton, Hampton City, Virginia
2Sarasota VA National Cemetery, Sarasota County, Florida
3New Bern National Cemetery, Township 8, New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina
4Georgia National Cemetery, Cherokee County, Georgia
5Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung County, New York
6Richmond National Cemetery, Henrico County, Virginia
7Missouri Veterans Cemetery, Springfield, Springfield Township, Greene County, Missouri
8Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly Township, Oakland County, Michigan
9Fort Sill National Cemetery, Comanche County, Oklahoma
10Seven Pines National Cemetery, Henrico County, Virginia
11National Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
12National Cemetery, Hot Springs, Fall River County, South Dakota
13Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa
14Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee
15Fort Richardson National Cemetery, Anchorage, Anchorage Municipality, Alaska
16Bakersfield National Cemetery, Kern County, California
17Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Saratoga County, New York
18Fort Smith National Cemetery, Fort Smith, Upper Township, Sebastian County, Arkansas
19Soldiers' Lot, Mound Cemetery, Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
20San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California
21Nashville National Cemetery, Davidson County, Tennessee
22Government Lots, Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia
23Annapolis National Cemetery, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland
24Fort Lyon National Cemetery, Bent County, Colorado
25Nachez National Cemetery, Supervisor District 4, Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi
26Massachusetts National Cemetery, Barnstable County, Massachusetts
27Lexington National Cemetery, Lexington-Fayette, Fayette County, Kentucky
28Camp Butler National Cemetery, Clear Lake Township, Sangamon County, Illinois
29Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Jackson Township, Will County, Illinois
30National Cemetery, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee
31Washington Crossing National Cemetery, Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania



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