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Poplar Grove National Cemetery - Petersburg, Virginia
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
N 37° 09.576 W 077° 25.767
18S E 284272 N 4115341
Quick Description: The death of more than 600,000 soldiers in the American Civil War necesitated the need for a National Cemetery system. This cemetery, opened in 1866, is now closed for burials, and is maintained by the National Parks Service.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 7/16/2010 1:44:08 PM
Waymark Code: WM992Z
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 6

Long Description:
Throughout the battlefield across Petersburg, the Union soldiers who were killed were burried in very quick order. These often were shallow graves, often without markings of any type. Some graves were marked with wooden crosses and handwritten notes, that weather would wipe away. Others were burried in mass graves. Some field hospitals had cemeteries nearby, and were generally outside the line of fire allowing for more time to bury the dead in a proper fashion.

A national cemetery was not created in Petersburg until 1866. By this time, nature had started taking back its own. A site was selected just south of the city, that had been the encampment of the 50th New York Volunteer Engineers. During the war, they had constructed a pine log church, built in a gothic-style. They named the church, "Poplar Grove."

From across the battlefield nearly 100 individual burial sites with more than 5,000 Union soldiers intered within. Bodies were brought from as far away as Lynchburg, Virginia. The task fell to a group of about 100 men, searching the countryside. Some graves would be found by stakes that marked the ground; others identified by the disturbance in the ground. The "burial corps," as they were known, formed a sort of police call line, spread a yard a part. Each man would be responsible for searching half a yard on either side. And so was the entire battlefield searched. The corps worked for three years, reinterring 6,718 remains; only 2,139 would be identified.

In 1933, the cemetery was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service. Poplar Grove is only one of fourteen National Cemeteries to be cared for by the National Parks Service. The stone caretakers building today is being used as a Ranger Station. It is open during the summer months, allowing visitors to ask questions and the grounds interpreted for their historic meaning.
Type of site: Cemetery

1539 Hickory Hill Road
Petersburg, VA USA

Phone Number: 804-861-2488

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Driving Directions:
From I-85 take Squirrel Level Road exit south to Wells Road and follow to Halifax Road. Turn right, Proceed to Vaughan Road; turn right. Travel approximately 2 miles to cemetery; there is a sign on the left.

Visit Instructions:
Post at least one photo of a Civil War related item or scene and post one Civil War Discovery you learned while visiting the waymark. The photo should have the coordinates of where it was taken if significantly different from the waymark's coordinates.
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ehatch visited Poplar Grove National Cemetery - Petersburg, Virginia 3/1/2015 ehatch visited it