Culpeper National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in the town of Culpeper, in Culpeper County, Virginia. It encompasses 29.6 acres (120,000 m2) of land, and as of the end of 2005, had 9,880 interments.
History[edit | edit source]
During the American Civil War, the territory around the city of Culpeper was defended vigorously by both sides, as it was a strategic point almost exactly between Washington D.C. and the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. Numerous battles took place in the region, including the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Battle of Chancellorsville. The dead from those conflicts were buried nearby in makeshift grave sites. After the war a reburial program was initiated, and in 1867, Culpeper National Cemetery was established to reinter many of the remains from the makeshift sites.
The original cemetery comprised 6 acres (2.4 ha), bought from Edward B. Hill of Culpeper for US$1,400. The original Second Empire Victorian caretakers lodge was built in 1872 and was designed by Montgomery C. Meigs. Many improvements to the grounds and facilities at the cemetery were made during the 1930s as part of the New Deal. These make-work improvements included replacing the original 1870s tool house at the cost of $8,000 in 1934, raising and realigning 912 headstones in May 1934, by the Civil Works Administration, and realignment and re-setting 402 headstones in 1936 though a Works Project Administration project. Having operated without any major improvements since the 1930s, the cemetery was closed to new interments on November 17, 1972. On September 1, 1973, administration of the cemetery was transferred from the U.S. Army to the Veterans Administration’s new National Cemetery System created by the National Cemetery Act of 1973. In 1975 another 10.5 acres (42,000 m2) was donated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Burton-Hammond Post 2524, and in 2001 another plot of 12.3 acres (50,000 m2) was purchased, which has been developed for future interments. The cemetery was reopened to interments on January 16, 1978.
Notable monuments[edit | edit source]
- The states of Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have erected markers dedicated to regiments from those states who had members die in the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
- The Maine monument is of granite construction and is dedicated to the twenty-two officers and soldiers from the 10th Maine Volunteer Infantry who died at Cedar Mountain. Date of erection unknown.
- The Massachusetts monument was erected by surviving members of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry in 1893.
- The New York monument was erected in 1902 by the state to honor the many members of the 28th New York Volunteer Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Corps, Army Corps of the Potomac who died at Cedar Mountain.
- The Ohio monument is of granite and bronze construction and was erected by the 7th Ohio Regimental Association. Date of erection unknown.
- The Pennsylvania monument was erected by the Commonwealth in 1910.
- The Armed Forces Monument was erected November 1992 and was sponsored by the American Legion Post 330 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2524. The monument was officially dedicated May 28, 2001 to all men and women who serve in the armed forces.
- A memorial to all of the Unknown burials from the Civil War was erected in 1988 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Burton-Hammond Post 2524.
- A National Military Cemetery monument constructed from a cast iron seacoast artillery tube stands seven and a half feet tall and holds a plaque with the following inscription:
NATIONAL MILITARY CEMETERY
ESTABLISHED APRIL 1867
Lincoln Rockwell Funeral[edit | edit source]
The cemetery was the scene of an unsuccessful attempt to have American Nazi Party leader, retired Navy Commander George Lincoln Rockwell, buried there after his assassination on 25 August 1967.
On August 27, a National Socialist White People’s Party (NSWPP) spokesman reported that Federal officials had given verbal approval to a planned military burial of Rockwell at Culpeper National Cemetery, as an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
On August 29, several dozen NSWPP troopers and about 100 party supporters formed a procession and drove from Arlington, Virginia to Culpeper. At the cemetery gates they were met by General Carl C. Turner and 60 MPs who had been rushed in from Vint Hill Farms Station to enforce the U.S. Army’s burial protocol, backed by other police from various jurisdictions. No mourners bearing Nazi insignia would be allowed into the cemetery but the NSWPP troopers refused to remove their uniforms, which led to a day-long standoff. They unsuccessfully tried to force their way into the cemetery three times. Several arrests resulted. Towards the end of day, General Turner declared that Rockwell could not be buried until the NSWPP made a new request to the Pentagon and agreed to follow protocol.
The Nazis returned to Arlington with Rockwell’s body. After plans to bury him in Spotsylvania County fell apart under protests by local Jewish organisations, and fearing that Arlington County officials might seize the body, the ANP had Rockwell cremated the next morning, and a memorial service held at party headquarters. In 1968, the NSWPP filed suit to obtain a Nazi burial for Rockwell’s remains at any National Cemetery but on March 15, 1969, a Federal district judge upheld the Army Secretary’s ruling that Rockwell was ineligible for a burial with full military honors in a National Cemetery. His ashes were ultimately placed in the memorial room of New Order headquarters in New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Photo gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "Cemeteries - Culpeper National Cemetery". 2010-01-08. http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/culpeper.asp. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "Culpeper National Cemetery". 2001-07-05. http://www.cem.va.gov/pdf/culpeper.pdf. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- *Uncredited, "Rockwell Burial Causes A Dispute", New York Times, Sunday, 27 August 1967, page 28.
[edit | edit source]
- National Cemetery Administration
- Culpeper National Cemetery
- Culpeper National Cemetery, 305 U.S. Avenue, Culpeper, Culpeper County, VA: 41 photos and 4 photo caption pages at Historic American Landscapes Survey
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