From the Richmond Enquirer, 6/11/1864

HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY. – This extensive cemetery is fast becoming thickly populated with the dead of our gallant soldiers who expire in the Richmond hospitals from the __alties incident to battle. Many thousands of as brave men as ever handled musket or drew sword in defence of home and country, sleep the last and dreamless sleep under the shade of the grand old oaks with which the cemetery abounds. In later years pilgrims from afar will come to view this spot, for swift, speeding time will throw around it holy memories, to be kept forever green in the hearts of the relatives and friends of those who sleep beneath its soil. We regret that the gentleman in charge of this place is not allowed, during such times as the present, sufficient auxiliaries so that he can satisfactorily discharge the duty with which he is entrusted. Frequently of late, as we understand, have there been such an accumulation of bodies in the evening that no chance was afforded of their having immediately the rights of sepulture. In consequence of this the bodies lie exposed all night, without any protection save that afforded by the rough and generally green pine coffins in which they are brought to the ground. The pine being unseasoned the effect of the hot sun upon them and the fast decomposing bodies within may be imagined. – Frequently the coffin lids, that are only fastened by one nail in each end, burst open, or shrink and curl up so as to expose the body for whose protection it was made.

Several ladies who went to the cemetery, a few mornings since, to mark the grave of a deceased soldier, saw twenty-five coffins, with their ghastly contents, lying on the ground, unburied, and fast decaying under the rays of a burning sun. Myriads of flies were attracted to the spot, and the air was filled with the odors of putrescent flesh. A view of many of the poor fellows was obtained, the lids of the coffins having come off. None of them appeared to have been cleansed and properly prepared for the grave, but thrust in the coffins just as they died. This latter was the fault of the hospital from which they came. The fact that the superintendent of the grounds is only allowed four hands (not half enough) is somebody else’s fault. The bodies of our dead soldiers should be decently buried. You may use a man and be just, but after using him, you cannot abuse him and be just.


From the Richmond Enquirer, 6/13/1864

OAKWOOD CEMETERY. – The remarks in this column on Saturday relative to the neglect in promptly burying the dead were designed to apply alone to Oakwood and not Hollywood Cemetery, as the heading of the piece about the matter would seem to indicate. We have heard of no neglect or want of force at Hollywood to do the necessary offices of humanity to our gallant dead, but have heard much this and the past Summer in reference to Oakwood Cemetery. – The majority of the soldiers and some of the officers of the Confederate army who die in the Richmond Hospitals from disease or wounds received in battle are interred at Oakwood Cemetery. If the superintendent of the grounds has not enough force properly to perform the work of interment, it would seem to be a very easy matter for the Government to order out a score of able-bodied Yankees daily to help him. If not Yankees, let the government take some of the stalwart darkeys now in the military prisons here, and set them to digging graves.

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