20 July 2009

Oakwood Cemetery Update

Six upright markers were placed this past week at Oakwood Confederate Cemetery. (See previous posts here.)

As part of the agreement with the City of Richmond, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is to only install upright markers in consecutive rows, section by section and not randomly. This will be a massive undertaking and requires much planning and additional research confirming and documenting names and the proper burial plots at Oakwood.

The six upright markers that were installed at Oakwood were ordered several years ago by their ancestors and/or at the request of the (SCV) Oakwood Cemetery Committee. The committee got the verbal okay from the city to install the six existing upright markers that had been in storage for some time.

Unofficially, it has been mentioned by some of the cemetery workers that the Confederate section in Oakwood will be turned over to the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on August 1st. With God's blessing that the final signatures will be obtained within the week, we can get to the business of properly marking these Confederate American veterans which is long overdue.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a complete dereliction of duty on account of Richmond's government. Someone should be held accountable.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

It's a long story. Bottom line, the City or Richmond, under the Wilder administration, thumbed their noses at the legislature. All of this has been codified into law, the money is there to do the job, as is the will and manpower and it will save taxpayers money. I'm not quite sure Wilder's motive in denying the soldiers' ancestors the right to honor their memory and maintain their graves. My own 90+ year old great-aunt traveled all the way from Danville because she thought the issue had been resolved and would see a gravestone marking her grandfather's grave. Not so.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

PS - the new administration has been much more cooperative from my understanding. Of course, there was also the threat of a lawsuit.

Michael Bradley said...

Unfortunately this is not the only example of deliberate neglect and/or abuse of Confederate graves. At the sites of some POW camps the U.S. government has bull-dozed the graves into a heap of soil and all markers have been destroyed.

At Point Lookout a private group has purchased property adjacent to the POW cemetery as a memorial park because the U.S. Veterans Dept. refuses to allow C.S. soldiers to be honored by having their own flag flown above their graves. The Vet.Dept. also insists on censoring the text of all speeches scheduled for delivery at that, and other, C.S. grave sites which they control.

I have the honor to serve on the Board of Trust for four cemeteries which hold the bodies of C.S. soldiers, three of them hold C.S. bodies only. These are properly maintained.

It is sad that after paying taxes to maintain the National Cemeteries we have to provide donations of money and labor to maintain the graves of C.S. soldiers. But if it must be, then I will continue to do so.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Michael. Yes, it's very sad. I had a great-great grandfather who spent time at Point Lookout.

kindredblood said...

I have a question...why have the graves not been mark? I would have thought that following the war during the monument period, they would have made sure to properly mark the graves. Just curious.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The easiest way to answer your question is to refer you here:


Michael Bradley said...

Why were the graves not marked? Some were but the markers were wooden. As to permanent markers, what would the South have used for money during the period from 1865 to 1945? It took years to raise a few hundred dollars for most projects. The record of donations for monuments here in Tennessee show that most people gave about twenty five cents--that is what they could afford.

One of the untold, and neglected stories of the War, is that the South was reduced to poverty and that national economic policies were designed to keep it that way. As one historian has noted, following the war the South became "an internal colony" to be ravaged for raw materials and natural resources with the profits shipped north.

Jacksonian Lawyer said...

Someone should indeed be held accountable for this travesty. I too have multiple family members who fought and died for the CSA during the War of Northern Aggression, and attitudes and treatment such as this are downright sickening and infuriating.