Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Here Rests in Honored Glory (Springfield National Cemetery) - Part II - The Union Cemetery

Springfield National Cemetery was established in 1867 in response to the critical need for a suitable burial ground for the remains of Union soldiers who fell at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Remains from other battles fought in Missouri, and in Arkansas, were also among the early internments.

By 1868, at total of 1500 Union soldiers received honorable burials in the cemetery. Of those, nearly half were "Unknown." The cemetery now has more than 13,000 burials, including heroes from American wars since the Civil War. The cemetery is also the final resting place of five Medal of Honor recipients, including three from the Civil War.

In addition to the burial markers themselves, there are other monuments in the cemetery. These include the "Union Memorial ( also known as the "Bailey" monument). The monument is 25 feet in high and surmounted by a statue of a life-size infantry soldier. The monument was erected in accordance with the bequest of the late Dr. T. J. Bailey of Springfield, at a cost of $5,000.

Another prominent memorial is the "Lyon Monument," dedicated to Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. The monument is 12-14 feet tall with a knight’s helmet, a battle axe, and a wreath on top of a four-foot pillar. Lyon was killed in action at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, but was buried in his home state of Connecticut.

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