From the Richmond Enquirer, 6/24/1862, p. 2, c. 5

SHOCKING NEGLECT OF THE DEAD. We were waited upon yesterday by a gentleman, who, at the request of a number of citizens, laid before us the fact of the barbarious neglect of the dead soldiers who have been taken to Oakwood Cemetery for interment. This gentleman informs us that he visited the Cemetery on Saturday and saw over forty coffins, containing dead bodies, lying out in the open air upon the ground, and on revisiting the spot on Sunday afternoon, counted thirty-nine. The influence of the heat had caused the bodies of some to swell and burst the coffins, and the atmosphere for a considerable distance around was impregnated with the stench of putrefaction. The keeper of the Cemetery says he is furnished with but six hands, who are unable to bury them, as fast as they are brought to him. If this be true, it is evident that measures are immediately necessary to remedy the evil. The heat of summer is commencing to do its work on both citizens and soldiers, battles around the city are impending, and it is certain that many of the wounded who may be brought from the field will die and must be buried here. The neglect hitherto shown by those whose business it is to see that the soldiers are decently buried has been shocking. Let it be obliterated at once and forever.

 

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