SOLDIER’S GROUND, MAGNOLIA CEMETERY
Posted By : manager
Posted : February 26, 2022
By: Moke Thomas
Soldier’s Ground in beautiful and historic Magnolia Cemetery holds particular interest because it is a precious reminder of the sacrifices of those who defended Charleston for nearly four years. Serving as the principal burial location for Confederate service members who died in the Charleston area, this section holds 644 men buried there during the war. A review of the Ladies Memorial Association of Charleston records of 1881, whose history and involvement with Magnolia Cemetery were summarized, unveils many details of interest.
Just twenty-eight of these men were officers, all Lieutenants or Captains. Many corporals and sergeants are identified, but most are privates as one would expect. They came from all over the Southland. The vast majority are from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, with small numbers from Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Twenty-four graves are listed as “Unknown,” and, except a single sailor from a gunboat, all are from the army. Two men have the unusual “Magnolia Cemetery,” distinguishing between “Federal Deserters.”
Some died in battle while others, with mortal wounds, lingered in hospitals for varying spells. Most of these casualties were from actions at Secessionville, Battery Wagner, and Fort Sumter. However, most of those interred in Soldier’s Ground died in area hospitals from diseases such as malaria, smallpox, yellow fever, and measles.
The first burial at Soldier’s Ground was for Private T. F. Brown, 2nd SC Artillery, who died July 16, 1861. The last wartime burials were conducted for six “Unknowns,” each of whom died February 24, 1865, shortly after the Union occupation of Charleston. One other man was buried in 1866 under unknown circumstances, and the 80 “Gettysburg Dead” were reinterred in 1871, bringing the total to 725 by that date. A review of wartime burials by year shows the activity: 1861 – 15 burials; 1862 -158 burials; 1863 – 224 burials; 1864-142 burials; and 1865 – 99 burials. Six graves are undated. The 99 deaths recorded in less than two months of 1865 are staggering and begs an explanation.
Reinterment of 47 Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines recovered from under The Citadel’s football stadium in 1999 and 2005 brought the total number of Confederate service members at rest in Soldier’s Ground to 772. Over 1,500 other Confederate veterans, many of whom were wartime casualties, are at rest in private lots scattered around the cemetery.