Sunday, March 1, 2009

Some Grave Images From Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery

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Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery has long been on my list of must-see places. So when, about a month and a half ago, I discovered that my wife was to have a basket show on the outskirts of the Charm City, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to do some cemetery tramping, and cross one more thing off my life's to-do list. As if I needed further convincing, the March 2009 issue of America's Civil War arrived in the mail a few days later, in which Kim O'Connell has a great little piece on Green Mount. Coincidence?
Armed with the magazine, as well as a cemetery map and tour book kindly provided to me by Justin McIntyre, a generous intern at Antietam, I set out to see some history.
My wife's basket show did not begin until late in the afternoon yesterday, which meant I did not arrive at Green Mount until 2:30. The day was cloudy and overcast, threatening rain, and the cemetery closes its gates at 4:00. I had but 90 minutes to navigate my way around this massive city of the dead. Truly, the cemetery is enormous, with over 65,000 burials on more than sixty acres. But what an incredible and fascinating place! Green Mount, dedicated in 1839, was one of nation's first rural, or garden cemeteries, a vast park with incredible statuary and monuments. It is the final resting place of hundreds of notable and some infamous Americans, and I regret that I had so short a time to do some exploring. It would take more than a full day to do this place any justice, which means I will no doubt have to return, when I have more time. With only an hour and a half yesterday, I quickly made my way around, following the map, and trying to locate some of the cemetery's most famous residents.

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Green Mount is the final resting place of hundreds, nay, thousands, of Civil War soldiers, including a host of high ranking officers. Perhaps most notable among these is Confederate general Joseph Eggelston Johnston.



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General Isaac Ridgeway Trimble is also buried in Green Mount, just a hundred or so yards from Johnston.



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Other Confederate generals buried in Green Mount include, George Hume "Maryland" Steuart, one-time cavalry commander under Stonewall Jackson and later infantry commander in the Army of Northern Virginia's Second Corps, captured at the Mule Shoe during the battle of Spotsylvania.




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The remains of General Arnold Elzey, a career army officer with a distinguished combat record in the Mexican-American War, also rest in Green Mount. Elzey served under Jackson in the Shenandoah, was wounded at Port Republic and shot through the head and seriously wounded at the battle of Gaines's Mill. He survived this terrible wound, and was later named as Chief of Artillery for the Army of Tennessee.



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Just north of Elzey's grave is the final resting place of Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Henry Little. Little served in Mexico as a lieutenant in the 5th U.S. Infantry and was brevetted a captain for gallantry at Monterrey. Promoted to captain shortly after the war, Little resigned from the U.S. army on May 7, 1861, and rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate army. He served under General Sterling Price in the war's Western Theatre. At the battle of Iuka, during which Little served as a divisional commander, he was shot in the head and instantly killed while sitting on his horse, conversing with Price.




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In addition to the scores of Confederates buried in Green Mount, there are also many Union officers. Among these are General Erastus Bernard Tyler, the fur merchant from Ohio, who was seriously wounded leading his Fifth Corps brigade at Fredericksburg. The cemetery map had his grave nearby Johnston's, but I was unable to locate it. I did, however, find the grave of Union brevet brigadier general Henry C. Bankhead. Bankhead served as an officer on the staff of Major General Don Carlos Buell.



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While it was a thrill for me to see the graves of so many notable Civil War figures, what I found most incredible was the grave almost immediately behind General Johnston's. There, a tall, ornate stone marks the final resting place of Colonel Thomas Marcus Hulings. Hulings is by no means as famous nor as recognizable as a Johnston, Trimble, or Steuart, but what made the discovery of this grave so incredible to me was that Hulings was a First Defender. As a member of the Logan Rifles from Lewistown, PA, Hulings's company along with the Allen Infantry from Allentown, Ringgold Light Artillery from Reading, and the Washington Artillerists and National Light Infantry from Pottsville, were the first Northern volunteers to arrive in Washington following the outbreak of civil war. In my book on the First Defenders, I made special note of Hulings, who, after his three-month term of service with the Logan Rifles, went on to serve as an officer in the 49th Pennsylvania. As colonel of the 49th, Hulings was killed in action at the battle of the Wilderness.



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I would venture to guess that the most visited graves in Green Mount are those of the Lincoln Assassination conspirators. I was unable to locate Michael O'Laughlen's grave, but did find that of Samuel Arnold, buried near Generals Elzey and Little. Arnold was not directly involved in the conspiracy to kill Lincoln, but he, along with Booth and his other cohorts, did plan the kidnapping of the president. After that failed, he and O'Laughlen broke off their connection with Booth. However, after the president was killed, Arnold was arrested as being complicit in the larger conspiracy. Sentenced to life along with O'Laughlen, Dr. Samuel Mudd, and Edmund Spangler at Fort Jefferson, Arnold was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869. He died in September 1906.


Arnold's grave is in the foreground, a simple granite stone on top of which someone placed. . .

. . .a Lincoln penny.

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And, finally, buried within the impressive stone walls of Green Mount is the body of famed actor Junius Booth. Booth was famous for his portrayals of Shakespearean characters in England before he settled in America, the founder of a legendary acting family which included his sons Junius, Jr., Edwin, and, yes, John Wilkes.

Junius Booth

The Booth family obelisk. . .

It is believed by most, and denied by some, that the remains of John Wilkes Booth, who, shortly before dying summed up his life by declaring "useless, useless," lie buried in the Booth family plot, his grave identified by a small unmarked stone.


Three Lincoln pennies decorate the supposed headstone of John Wilkes Booth.

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Well, at five minutes to 4:00, I left Green Mount after an incredible (though short) visit to this, a most remarkable place. I will return, hopefully someday soon, when I will have more to time to wander the silent grounds. . .
For more information on Green Mount Cemetery, click here.

10 comments:

Chris Evans said...

Wow, very impressive cemetery! I did not know all of those Civil War notables were buried there. As a bit of trivia, Junius Booth is depicted in the novel by Richard Slotkin called 'Abe' that came out around 2000. It is a novel about the young Abraham Lincoln. Old cemeteries I find quite fascinating.

Thanks for the great post,
Chris

John David Hoptak said...

Chris
Thanks. Green Mount is an incredible place and a must for any student of Civil War history or anyone as fascinated by cemeteries as I am.
When I go back, and have more time, I'll post more photos.

John

Chris Evans said...

Thanks for the reply,

As an interested observer of Civil War Era cemeteries I've always wanted to visit the Civil War section of Magnolia cemetery located in Mobile, Alabama. It has many Confederate notables buried in it and even some Union soldiers. It includes the graves of General Adley Gladden who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The cemetery also contains ,I believe, a memorial to the men of the Hunley. Plus, the cemetery has a grave that all Civil War buffs should visit to pay their respects to: the 'infamous' Braxton Bragg.

Thanks again,
Chris

gq_kim said...

John, This post really expounds on the personalities of the notable burials in Green Mount--ACW should link to this! I am a cemetery buff too. Another great interest of mine is the Titanic, and what initially drew me to Green Mount years ago was finding out that Walter Lord, the historian who wrote the classic Titanic account called "A Night to REmember," is buried at GM. When I went to see his grave, that's when I was astounded to discover all the Civil War history there.

John David Hoptak said...

Kim
I wish I would have known that before; now I most certainly need to go back, when I have a whole day!
Also, perhaps I can arrange for a tour of the Old St. Paul's Cemetery off MLK in downtown Baltimore, where Armistead and his Uncle George are buried.

Jared Frederick said...

Such a deep subject! ;-)

Very interesting stuff!

Don said...

John,

I didn't know that was where Steuart was buried, thanks. Incidentally, he was also captured earlier in the war during First Bull Run --- by one of his sergeants from a few months before in the 2nd Dragoons.

Thanks for the great insight and photos.

Don

John David Hoptak said...

Don
Thanks for that. . .it seems Steaurt was something of a hard-luck kind of fella.
Wonder if there is a biography?
Maybe something like, "Lee's Other Steuart. . ."?

John

sarah c said...

Thank you for posting a photograph of my four times great uncle General Henry Carey Bankhead as a young man as I had not seen that before; the photograph we have is of him right after the war. Also for posting a picture of his stone.

Dop Troutman said...

Hi John. Came across this posting today and wanted to let you know that the picture you posted of what you think to be John Wilkes Booth's tombstone is actually the footstone of his sister, Asia. Most of the graves in the Booth Family plot have a headstone and a footstone. You are not alone in your assumption. JWB is actually buried in a completely unmarked grave behind the obelisk with no marker.