Headstones Provided for Union Civil War Veterans, ca. 1879-ca. 1903
On the 22 rolls of this microfilm publication are reproduced more than 166,000 card records of headstone (gravestone) contracts provided for deceased Union veterans of the U.S. Civil War. A few War of 1812 veterans and at least one Revolutionary War veteran are also included. These records are part of the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group (RG) 92, and are identified as Series 628, Card Record of Headstone Contracts and U.S. Soldiers' Burials, in Preliminary Inventory NM-81, Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Part I (Washington: National Archives, 1967).
The cards reproduced on this microfilm were created by the Cemetery Branch which was established shortly after the Civil War in the Office of the Quartermaster General. Much of the branch's work involved establishing, maintaining, and improving national military cemeteries as the last resting place for the war dead. On March 3, 1873, Congress granted burial rights in national military cemeteries to all honorably discharged veterans of the Civil War (17 Stat. 605).
An act of Congress of February 3, 1879 (20 Stat. 281), extended the privilege of government-provided gravestones to soldiers buried in private cemeteries (20 Stat. 281). This act provided:
... That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Regular or Volunteer Army of the United States during the war for the Union, and who have been buried in private village or city cemeteries, in the same manner as provided by the law of March third, eighteen hundred and seventy-three, for those interred in national military cemeteries....
The Secretary of War shall cause to be preserved in the records of his Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected by authority of this or any former acts.
Following World War I, the Cemetery Branch became the Cemetery Division when it was consolidated with the Graves Registration Service, which had supervised the burying, placing of headstones, and record-keeping of American war dead abroad during World War I.
These records consist of 3-inch by 4-inch cards arranged alphabetically by surname, thereunder by first name. The cards include some or all of the following information about each soldier: rank, company, and regiment; place of burial, including the cemetery's name, and the city or town, county, and state in which it is located; grave number, if any; date of death; name of contractor who supplied the headstone and the date of the contract under which the stone was provided. Most of the burials occurred in private cemeteries, probably in the county of the soldier's last residence. Some occurred in cemeteries at National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
The soldiers for whom these gravestones were provided were Union Civil War soldiers who died between ca. 1861 and ca. 1903; however, a few War of 1812 veterans and at least one Revolutionary War veteran are also included. The gravestones were provided by the Federal Government between ca. 1879 and ca. 1903 under contracts entered into with private companies, including: S.G. Bridges; Gross Brothers (also given as W.H. Gross or W.H. & F.S. Gross), Lee, MA; Lee Marble Works, Lee, MA; William Mansen; Sheldon & Sons, West Rutland, VT; Stockbridge Marble Co., MA; Vermont Marble Co., Proctor, VT; and D.W. Whitney.
At some point after information had been recorded on the cards, a papercutter was used to cut off approximately the top one-eighth inch of each card. This resulted in the upper parts of some names being cut off; as a result, these names may be difficult to read. In some cases, the names have been rewritten below the original.
Roll 1: Aab, George - Barwis, Samuel
Roll 2: Baschensky, Henry - Brand, William A.
Roll 3: Brandan, Simon W. - Carlisle, William
Roll 4: Carlle, Andrew - Coop, Henry J.
Roll 5: Cooper, A.D. - Dery, Edward
Roll 6: DeSantos, Antonio - Erxleben, Charles
Roll 7: Esbin, Robert - Gardipe, Herman
Roll 8: Gardner, A.B. - Haisley, Clifford
Roll 9: Hake, Louis - Higgins, William
Roll 10: Higgs, James - Jaynes, Eber
Roll 11: Jeamrings, Francis - Knittle, Daniel
Roll 12: Knobbe, William - Lowyles, Hiram
Roll 13: Loy, George - McFurlow, James
Roll 14: McGaffee, Samuel - Morford, William
Roll 15: Morgan, Abraham - Osom, James
Roll 16: Ossinger, John - Pugh, William
Roll 17: Pugsley, Calvin - Rohrscheib, Jacob
Roll 18: Roice, Arthur D. - Sheldon, William
Roll 19: Sheley, Benjamin - Starkes, Reubin
Roll 20: Starkey, Charles - Truax, Silas
Roll 21: Trubee, Christian - Wertz, William
Roll 22: Wesbrooks, Benjamin - Zylerwiez, Edward
Where to Find These Records
M1845 can be viewed at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at 13 NARA regional records services facilities.