~ History ~
~Camp Chase in 1861~ Ambrotype (Ohio Historical Society)
Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery,located at 2900 Sullivant Avenue, Columbus,Ohio,
encloses within its less than two acres the mortal remains of 2,087 Confederate soldiers.
These men died while prisoners of war. Nearly all of them were held captives at Camp
Chase Military Prison, a portion of whose grounds became Camp Chase Confederate
Cemetery. Added to their number are 31 Confederate soldiers who died at Camp
Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio. Their remains were removed to Camp Chase
Cemetery shortly after the close of the War Between the States.
Early inmates at the Camp Chase prison camp were chiefly political and military
prisoners,from Kentucky and western Virginia. However, Union victories at Fort
Donalson, Tennessee on February 16, 1862 and at Mississippi River Island No. 10
on April 8, 1862 brought a new influx of prisoners. All of the officers taken at these
battles, except general and field officers who were sent to Fort Warren in Boston
Harbor,were transferred to the Camp Chase prison. When the Confederate Stockade
on Johnsonís Island in Lake Erie was established most of the officers at Camp Chase
were sent there. Following this transfer, men from the ranks, the privates, corprals and
sergeants, made up the bulk of the Confederate soldiers confined at Camp Chase.The
high tide of the prison population at Camp Chase was reached in 1863 when
some 8,000 men were confined there.
During the winter of 1863-1864 a smallpox epidemic caused many deaths.
In November 1864 there was an exchange of 10,000 sick and wounded
prisoners between the North and South.
Prior to the establishment of a cemetery at Camp Chase prison, the Confederate
soldiers who died there were interred in the City Cemetery of Columbus, Ohio. After
the cemetery was established at Camp Chase late in 1863 their remains
were re-interred in the prison cemetery.
~ Post-War Years ~
Some years after the War had ended, Mr. William H. Knauss, a former Union officer
who had been wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, became interested in marking
the neglected graves of Confederate soldiers who had been killed during the fierce
fighting at Antietam. Through his efforts and that of others whom he had
interested in the project,memorial services were held at Camp Chase Cemetery
beginning in 1896. During subsequent years into the early 20th Century the citizens
of Columbus continued these memorial services, as many as four or five thousand
attending in 1898. In 1900 governor Nash of Ohio was an honored guest.
On June 7, 1902 a memorial arch of rough hewn granite blocks which had been
erected through public donations was unveiled at the cemetery, with Governor
Nash again present and participating in the dedication. This arch is topped by
a bronze statue of a Confederate private soldier. It spans a huge boulder,
long a landmark of the cemetery, bearing the following inscription:" 2260
Confederate Soldiers of the War 1861 - 1865 Buried in this Enclosure." Since
that time, some bodies have been removed. In 1906, pursuant to an Act of Congress,
white marble headstones were erected at all graves in Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.
Each year on the Sunday nearest the birthday of Jefferson Davis, June 3, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy pay tribute and place flowers at the graves of men from the South. Over them stands the bronze statue of a common soldier of the Confederacy with his face to the South. Beneath him on the keystone of the arch, inscribed as an eloquent epitaph to the men who lie there, is one word:
~ AMERICANS ~
~ VIEW ~
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