Virtual Cemetery, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers (grave locations for individual members of the regiment)
Monuments and Memorials (regimental and company monuments erected to honor the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers by various cities, counties and states)
“To rear a slab of marble in respect to the memory
of a departed friend
is always the first care at home.”
So wrote H.W.D. in a letter home to the Sunbury American newspaper (30 May 1863 issue). He was serving in Florida with the 47th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers when he penned that 3 May 1863 missive. A member of Company C – the “Sunbury Guards” – H.W.D. went on to tell readers the sad news that one of their own had been claimed by yellow fever:
“It is gratifying to the friends to know that the last resting place of a brother or relative is marked; – so I will give it to you the fact of a monument being erected over the grave of George C. Watson, of Watsontown, Pa., that his friends may know it. The monument is of Italian marble, set in a Granite base, and bears the inscription –
‘In memory of
Geo C. Watson,
Co. C, 47th Reg’t., Pa. Vols.
a resident of North’d. County, Pa.
Died, Aug. 26, 1862.’”
Young Watson’s remains were later moved, with those of other men from the 47th who had perished in Florida, to a growing cemetery associated with the Marine Hospital near Fort Barrancas – now the Barrancas National Cemetery at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola.
Before that early heartache, however, drummer boys John Boulton Young and Alfred Eisenbraun of the 47th Pennsylvania’s C and B Companies, respectively, and Sergeant Frank M. Holt of D Company were laid to rest in the cemetery adjacent to the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s National Home in Washington, D.C. Young and Holt had lost their battles with Variola (smallpox) at the Kalorama General Hospital in Washington, D.C. on 17 and 28 October 1861, respectively, while Eisenbraun had died on 26 October at the U.S. Army General Hospital which had been established at the Union Hotel in Washington, D.C. The remains of the 13-year-old Young were later disinterred and returned to Pennsylvania for reburial at the Sunbury Cemetery while Holt, who had only been a member of the 47th’s Company D since August, was later honored by his family, who created a cenotaph for him at his hometown cemetery in New Hampshire.
Reuben Wetzel has also been at peace at the National Soldiers’ Home Cemetery since 1861. A Cook for G Company, he died 17 November from complications related to a fractured tibia, following a wagon accident which occurred while the regiment was moving from one camp site to another. Formerly known as the Military Asylum Cemetery, the Soldiers’ Home Cemetery was established within view of a cottage on the Home’s grounds used as a place of respite by President Abraham Lincoln and his family. Established in August 1861, the Soldiers’ Home Cemetery is also the final resting place of numerous Congressional Medal of Honor winners.
Peter Swinehart, a 21-year-old shoemaker from Sunbury who was wounded while serving as a Private with the Sunbury Guards (Company C) during the Battle of Cedar Creek 19 October 1864, died less than two months later at Jarvis General Hospital in Baltimore. He was interred in Maryland’s Loudon Park National Cemetery.
Private Allen Faber, who had just enlisted in Company A of the 47th on 20 February 1865, was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. He died at a regimental hospital 7 June 1865 from wounds received in battle.
Other men from the 47th rest even farther from home – with some thought to be interred on the parade grounds at Fort Jefferson in Florida, and others known to have been buried with military honors at national cemeteries in Virginia (Alexandria and Winchester), Salisbury (North Carolina), Beaufort or Florence (South Carolina), Natchez, and Louisiana (Baton Rouge and Chalmette).
They, along with the many men from the 47th who completed their honorable service and returned home to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are now together again thanks to the creation of a special “virtual cemetery” by the primary author of this blog. It is hoped that this online gathering place will be frequented by those engaged in researching their respective family histories, as well as by professional historians, Civil War reenactors and others interested in learning more about the men of the 47th.
Those visiting this virtual cemetery will find the graves of those who returned home from prison camps or via discharge by Surgeon’s Certificate but, sadly, died of complications from wounds or disease. They will also find the graves of the many who went on to live long, full lives and become the great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents of the men and women researching the 47th today.
Many of these ancestors were interred in cemeteries in the towns where they were born or in adopted communities in Alburtis, Alfarata, Allentown, Altoona, Ambler, Ashland, Augustaville, Bala Cynwyd, Bangor, Bartonsville, Bath, Bechtelsville, Belfast, Bellefonte, Bernville, Bethlehem, Big Cove Tannery, Bird in Hand, Boalsburg, Braddock Hills, Breinigsville, Bridgeport, Brookville, Burnham, Catasauqua, Catawissa, Chapman, Churchtown, Clearfield, Coolbaugh, Coopersburg, Coplay, Danielsville, Donaldson, Doylesburg, Dravosburg, Drexel Hill, Duncannon, Dunmore, East Greenville, Easton, Ebensburg, Egypt, Elliotsburg, Emmaus, Erie, Eschol, Everett, Factoryville, Farwell, Fernwood, Fleetwood, Flemington, Forks Township, Forksville, Fountain Hill, Freemansburg, Fullerton, Girard, Gowen City, Hamburg, Hanover, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Hecktown, Herndon, Honey Grove, Howertown, Hunter, Huntersville, Ickesburg, Jersey Shore, Johnstown, Kreidersville, Kulpsville, Kutztown, Landisburg, Laurys Station, Lawrenceville, Lebanon, Lehighton, Lewisburg, Lewistown, Little Germany, Liverpool, Lock Haven, Lower Saucon, Loysville, Lyleville, Lynville, Macungie, Maitland, Marysville, Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), Maxatawny, McConnellsburg, Mechanicsburg, Menno, Mercersburg, Mertztown, Middleburg, Middletown, Mifflintown, Montdale, Moorestown, Mount Bethel, Nanticoke, Neffs, New Albany, New Berlin, Newberrytown, New Bloomfield, New Buffalo, Newport, Newton Hamilton, New Tripoli, Northumberland, Oil City, Orefield, Orwigsburg, Panic, Paradise, Peckville, Philadelphia, Pitman, Pittsburgh, Pleasant View, Pottstown, Pottsville, Portland, Pricetown, Quakertown, Reading, Red Cross, Richfield, Riegelsville, Roslyn, Salisbury, Saylorsburg, Sayre, Scranton, Shamokin, Sharon, Shenandoah Heights, Shermans Dale, Shippensburg, Shiremanstown, Slatington, South Coatesville, Spring Mills, Stewartstown, Stockertown, Stroudsburg, Sunbury, Sweet Valley, Tannersville, Thompsontown, Trexlertown, Trumbauersville, Tyrone, Washingtonville, Wayne, Waynesburg, Weatherly, Weisenberg, Weissport, Wellsville, West Catasauqua, Whitehall, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Wind Gap, Wolf’s Crossroads, York, and Zion’s View.
Their progeny went on to become the artists, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, medical practitioners, scientists, and other laborers and community leaders who fueled the nation’s transformation during the 20th century.
Those men of the 47th who sought their fortunes elsewhere or eventually retired to U.S. Homes for Disabled Union Soldiers are known to have been interred at Arlington with others now at rest in California (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ukiah), Colorado (Golden), Florida (Orlando), Georgia (Fitzgerald), Illinois (Chicago, Danville, Eureka, Penrose, and Quincy), Indiana (Marion and New Albany), Iowa (Bedford, Des Moines, Kirkman, Ladora, and Ottumwa), Kansas (Bennington, Burlingame, El Dorado, Gorham, Holland, Leavenworth, Marquette, and Papillion), Maryland (Baltimore and Manchester), Michigan (Berrien Springs, Detroit, Lower Flatbush, Wrights Corners), Missouri (Lemay), Nebraska (Omaha, Shelby, and West Point), New Jersey (Belvidere, Phillisburg, Totawa, Vineland, and Washington), Ohio (Bloomville, Dayton, Defiance, and Lancater), Oklahoma (Purcell), Oregon (Woodburn), Tennessee (Johnson City), and the State of Washington (Seattle).
However, many remain absent from view – their graves still not yet located. This is largely because some in the 47th were forced to leave behind friends who fell during unexpected skirmishes or raging battles – and because the Union Army’s record keeping was simply shoddy at war’s outset. In other cases, graves have been identified, but are not well documented. Many are simply waiting to have “faces put to the names” – the specific regimental service of each soldier acknowledged, the countless repetitions of “unknown” replaced by applicable birth dates and hometowns.
So for now, the virtual cemetery for the 47th Pennsylvania remains a work in progress. Readers who are fans of the 47th – or have ancestors whose graves have yet to be identified – are welcome to submit data and photos for possible inclusion in the virtual cemetery or the regimental rosters under development for this commemorative blog. (For information on how to do so, please see the “Contact” page.)
It is hoped that, eventually, the grave of every member of the 47th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers will be located and properly marked, and that a biographical sketch will be written and posted for each soldier.
Memorials – 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers:
- Company C, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Sunbury Cemetery, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania