This Week In Quartermaster History

15-21 July

Arlington National Cemetery
Creation of the National Cemetery System
17 July 1862

        Quote of the Week:

  "Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals."
William E. Gladstone

To read more on this subject:

  Articles on the National Cemetery System

Congress provided the legal sanction for creation of a national cemetery system by authorizing President Lincoln in the Act of 17 July 1862, "to purchase cemetery grounds ... to be used as a national cemetery for soldiers who shall have died in the service of the country."

The Quartermaster Department was given the responsibility to establish and maintain these new national cemeteries. By 1870 the Department had completed the final interment of Civil War remains in 73 national cemeteries, and added several more in the West to receive remains from the burial grounds of abandoned frontier posts.

Created originally to afford a decent resting place for those Civil War soldiers who fell in defense of the Union, the national cemetery system symbolizes in its gracious landscapes and marble headstones both the violence of the struggle and the healing aftermath. Today men from both the North and South now sleep side by side in many of its cemeteries.

Compiled by
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum

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