Friday, December 14, 2012

Harrisburg Cemetery and the Civil War

           Residing between Herr and State Streets in the eastern part of the city of Harrisburg is the historic Harrisburg Cemetery.  The cemetery celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1995 and is the final resting place for many well-known citizens of all walks of life dating from the time of the revolution.  The cemetery was officially chartered in 1845 and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places.  Along with all the wonderful history, the cemetery is staffed by more than helpful and interested caretakers who know their way around the large plot.
          With regards to this blog, there are many well known and "should be better known" Civil War heroes buried in the cemetery. There is also a special plot containing soldiers that died in the care of Harrisburg's Civil War hospital.  This plot, Section Z, contains the graves of 155 soldiers, 15 of whom were Confederate prisoners of war that died while in the Harrisburg Hospital station.  Some of the better known Civil War officers/personalities interred in the cemetery include Major General John White Geary, Brigadier General James A Congdon, Brigadier General Joseph Knipe, Brigadier General George Zinn, Lt. Colonel George Fisher McFarland, Colonel James Cameron, Colonel Henry McCormick, and Secretary of State Simon Cameron.
          A visit to this hallowed cemetery is more than worth your while.  Whether perusing the Civil War heroes or just taking a stroll through this beautiful place, Harrisburg Cemetery well deserves its protection on the National Register of Historic Places for future generations to come and learn of the nation's past sacrifices as well as to help us understand the core values of what it means to be a citizen of the state and nation.

Below are some of the better known interments in the cemetery.

Bvt Brigadier General James A Congdon of the 12th PA Cavalry
Colonel William Jennings
Colonel William W Jennings who commanded the 127th PA (Dauphin County Regiment) through the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville...later commanding the 26th PA Emergency Militia against Jubal Early's Division on the 26th of June at Gettysburg

Captain George Brooks of Company D, 46th Pennsylvania Infantry was killed in action at Antietam

Captain George Brooks, 46th PA KIA Antietam

Colonel George Fisher McFarland of the 151st PA ("Schoolteachers Regiment") - Was severely wounded at Gettysburg and lost his legs...the regiment suffered 70% casualties on July 1st fighting a delaying action on Eastern McPherson's Ridge
Colonel George F McFarland
Bvt Brig Gen Robert W McCoy 
Section Z - Civil War section of the cemetery which includes 155 soldiers
Some of the 15 Confederates buried in Section Z... based on the dates it is very possible many of them were wounded at Gettysburg
Major General John White Geary...12th Corps commander who commanded a division at Gettysburg and was later Governor of Pennsylvania
Statue to General Geary next to his grave plot
Simon Cameron burial....1st Secretary of War under President Abraham Lincoln

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