Death and Dying

Photo of skeletal remains from the Battle of Gaines’ Mill awaiting burial.

The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans to death on an unprecedented scale. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with such devastating loss of human life, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.

The Civil War revolutionized the American military's approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death, including the National Cemetery system.

Showing results 1-5 of 15

  • Kurz & Allison print of the First Battle of Manassas

    Like many soldiers on the eve of the first major battle of the Civil War, Sullivan Ballou feared he might not survive the conflict. The letter he wrote to his wife, expressing his anxiety, remains on the the most famous, and poignent, written during the war. Read more

  • Petersburg National Battlefield

    A Nation's Need - Poplar Grove National Cemetery

    Photo of Poplar Grove National Cemetery, with flags decorating graves for Memorial Day

    After the Battle of Petersburg the dead were buried in shallow graves, most without grave markers. One year after the war ends a National Cemetery was established so that those Union soldiers who fell in the battle may be properly honored. Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    A Short Overview of the Battle of Antietam

    Photograph of dead by Dunker Church after the Battle of Antietam

    A brief overview of the Battle of Antietam Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Antietam National Cemetery

    Photo of Antietam National Cemetery in the fall

    Following the Battle of Antietam in 1862, there were few cemeteries to inter the dead. Shallow graves were dug to quickly bury the remains of the battle, yet a permanent solution was needed. The result was Antietam National Cemetery, the final resting place for United States troops that had fallen during the Maryland Campaign. Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Antietam: Lead Up to and After

    Photograph of dead soldiers after the Battle of Antietam

    The preparations, battle and aftermath of the Battle of Antietam. Read more

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Tags: Civil War, Death