News and Tribune

Floyd County

April 3, 2013

NEW ALBANY BICENTENNIAL: The National Cemetery

NEW ALBANY — “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.” 

— Text on an iron plaque at the New Albany National Cemetery inscribed with President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

 

Well-ordered rows of white headstones stretch across the consecrated land of the New Albany National Cemetery. Just off Ekin Avenue, more than 5,000 people have been laid to rest in these five-and-a-half acres. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice for America in battle. Others survived war but wanted to be interred in this sacred ground after their long lives ended. Even today, groups honor their service by placing wreaths on their tombs, a testament to the enduring thankfulness of their country.

During the Civil War, the U.S. government first began to establish national cemeteries for the burial of Union soldiers. According to author Kelly Merrifield’s essay “From Necessity to Honor: The Evolution of National Cemeteries in the United States,” prior to this time, those who died in the American Revolution or the War of 1812 were interred in church yards and family cemeteries. The huge number of Civil War deaths — more than 600,000 in all — made it impossible to continue this tradition. 

“The nation needed new burial practices to deal with the changing realities of war,” Merrifield said. “Weapon accuracy and fighting techniques led to more casualties than in previous wars; railroads and steamships carried soldiers to battles farther and farther from their homes; disease caused a high percentage of the deaths on battlefields, in prisoner-of-war camps and in hospitals.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Floyd County
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.