News and Tribune

New Albany Bicentennial

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
New Albany Bicentennial
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
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.