Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 09:12:02 -0400
Subject: VA Buries Six Civil War Soldiers
Civil War Soldiers to be Buried
in Massachusetts National Cemetery
WASHINGTON (June 12, 2006) - One hundred and forty-five years
deaths on a battlefield in northern Virginia, six Union
soldiers from the Civil War are returning home to Massachusetts.
were buried with full military honors on June 10 at the Massachusetts
National Cemetery in Bourne.
"These soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for the preservation
of our nation," said the Honorable R. James Nicholson,
Veterans Affairs. "We don't know their names. We cannot locate their
families. But we
are honored to provide a lasting tribute to their
service on the hallowed grounds of a national cemetery."
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) buried the remains in a
VA-run cemetery, which is maintained in perpetuity
as "a national
shrine," five weeks shy of the 145th anniversary of their deaths on July
18, 1861, the eve of the first
battle of Manassas.
VA and the Massachusetts Sons of Union Veterans planned a
ceremony June 10 at 11:00 a.m. at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in
Bourne, Mass. The ceremony included
Civil War re-enactors and full
The remains were discovered
in 1997 on a construction site in
Centreville, Va. Scientists from the Smithsonian Institute identified
as soldiers of the 1st Massachusetts infantry who were
killed during a skirmish known as Blackburn's Ford. Scientists
unable to establish the identities of the soldiers.
Sons of Union Soldiers, working with Fairfax
County, Va., which had legal custody of the remains, arranged for the
to their home state. Like other veterans of the armed forces,
the Civil War soldiers are eligible for burial in a
VA-maintained national cemetery.
Veterans with a discharge other than dishonorable, their spouses
dependent children can be buried in a national cemetery.
Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless
whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery,
include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial
Certificate and a government headstone or marker.
In the midst of the largest cemetery expansion since the Civil
War, VA operates
123 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico,
and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than three million
including veterans of every war and conflict - from the
Revolutionary War to the current war against terrorism - are buried
VA's national cemeteries on more than 16,000 acres of land.
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national
cemetery offices, from the Internet at http://www.cem.va.gov
calling VA regional offices toll-free at
For more information on the Massachusetts event call Paul
McFarland, Cemetery Director, at (508) 563-7113.