During the Civil War, soldiers that succumbed to wounds or disease were typically buried close to where they died. If their name was known, their grave could be marked with whatever materials were at hand — most commonly the etching of the name into a wooden board.
Nationwide, 54% of the number re-interred were classified as "unknown". At Vicksburg National Cemetery, 75% of the Civil War dead are listed as unknowns, while at Salisbury (N.C.) National Cemetery, 99% of the 12,126 Federal soldiers interred are listed as unidentified. Rounded, upright headstones mark the graves of the known soldiers, while small, square blocks, etched with a grave number only, designate the burials of the unknowns. A few graves are marked by nongovernment-issued headstones. No one of national fame is buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery, with Brevet Brig. Gen. Embury D. Osband qualifiying as the highest-ranking veteran interred (Grave #16648, Section O). In the late 1860's, two Confederates were mistakenly buried in Section B of the cemetery (Private Reuben White, 19th Texas Infantry Regiment, Grave #2637; Sergeant Charles B. Brantley, 12th Arkansas Sharpshooters Battalion, Grave #2673).
Vicksburg National Cemetery was under the jurisdiction of the War Department until 1933, when administration was turned over to the Department of the Interior's National Park Service. The last cemetery superintendent, Randolph G. Anderson, retired in 1947, and supervision of the cemetery became the added responsibility of the superintendent of Vicksburg National Military Park.
Vicksburg National Cemetery has been closed for burials since May 1961 except to those individuals who had reserved space for interment prior to that time.
The names of the soldiers interred in Vicksburg National Cemetery have been compiled from the original cemetery ledgers. The three-volume set contains only basic information about each known veteran, recorded at the time of re-interment. Although the handwritten pencil entries are in remarkable condition, many do contain inaccuracies and/or only partial information about the soldier. The listings on this site identify information as it was recorded in the Vicksburg National Cemetery ledgers.
Confederate dead from the Vicksburg campaign originally buried behind Confederate lines, have now been re-interred in the Vicksburg City Cemetery (Cedar Hill Cemetery), in an area called "Soldiers' Rest." Approximately 5,000 Confederates have been re-interred there, of which 1,600 are identified.
Did You Know?
Thomas O. Selfridge, captain of the USS Cairo, commanded three boats which sank during the war. Each began with the letter "C"-Cumberland, Cairo, and Conestoga. The coincidence was noted after the Conestoga sank, and Selfridge was assigned to the USS Osage, which survived to the end of the war.