A Short History of Confederate Hill

 

In Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland, on a shade covered hill, overlooking a stream, rest the remains of hundreds of Confederate soldiers and veterans. This place is known as Confederate Hill.

Those buried here are soldiers who died in Baltimore hospitals during the war, or were brought here from nearby battlefields. At the close of the war over two hundred Confederate soldiers were buried on the hill. During the 1870's, Maryland soldiers were brought here.

 Today over six hundred graves are on Confederate Hill. Confederate Memorial Day is an annual event at Loudon Park Cemetery. The observances here were started by the Maryland Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States. Today the services are held under the auspices of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Harry W. Gilmor #1388 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

 In 1873, the first monument was erected upon the hill. Known as the "Stonewall" Jackson monument, it continues to hold vigil over the dead and serves as the center of activity on special occasions.

 In 1874 the state of Maryland paid for the removal of Maryland dead from Virginia battlefields for interment on Confederate Hill. At the June 6th meeting of the Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States, "The special committee appointed to disburse the $5,000 appropriated by the Maryland Legislature for the proper interment of the bodies of Confederate dead at Loudon Park Cemetery reported the arrangements they had made to get the money."

 The committee reported that a contract was arranged to surround the soldiers' lot with a granite curb and that "James H. Smith, late a sergeant of artillery, was engaged to disinter and forward the bodies of Marylanders that had fallen upon the battle fields of Virginia."

 The Society further concluded that the amount appropriated by the Legislature "...though sufficient to put the lot in order and remove the bodies of the dead, will not admit of placing tombstones at the graves.

 It is desired to put a plain marble headstone, engraved with the name rank and command of each fallen soldier at his grave. To do this will cost a great deal, and to obtain the funds an appeal will be made on memorial day."

 Because the foul weather on Confederate Memorial Day in 1874 shortened the event, the collection of money to mark the graves was not executed. The work, however, continued with the 1877 Memorial Day account reporting a committee was appointed "to take up subscriptions to raise money for the sixty headstones yet needed." And "Rev. W. W. Walker made an appeal for aid in procuring these headstones. They are for men whose names history cannot let die. About $500 was needed. The committee collected $200 on the ground."

 Nearly every year, a collection was made to help pay for the upkeep of Confederate Hill and for the purchase of headstones. And while these stones have worn with time, they stand as a great tribute to the dedication of Marylanders and Baltimoreans in the preservation of the Confederate soldiers' memory. These old stones, paid for by the people who attended services on this hill and who witnessed the burial of Confederate soldiers over one hundred and twenty years ago, are what give Confederate Hill its unique beauty.

 The burial of Maryland soldiers brought from Virginia was an impressive part of Confederate Memorial Day services.

 On June 10, 1874, Confederate Memorial Day, the paper reported:

"...the remains of several Confederate soldiers, which had been brought from the battle fields of Virginia, were reinterred in the Confederate inclosure. These comprised the remains of Lieut. Nicholas M. Snowden, company D, Wm. E. [S]immons, J. Daugherty, John H. Baden, and J. Picke[t], company C, First Maryland regiment; James Owens, Baltimore light cavalry; J. R. Hardesty, Chesapeake artillery; J. T. Dutton, third battery; [Lt.] B. G. Roberts, Chesapeake artillery, and one unknown.

The procession after reaching the place of burial marched around the lots, and after forming around the newly made graves in which the remains had already been deposited, but not filled up, the funeral services took place. Rev. T. U. Dudley, of Christ Episcopal Church, read the impressive burial service of that church, during which he threw a small quantity of dirt into each grave, repeating the words "dust to dust, ashes to ashes, earth to earth." In one of the graves the remains of two persons were buried. After the conclusion of the obsequies the flowers not already placed upon the graves were distributed, the band in the meantime playing a dirge. The lots containing the Confederate dead have been inclosed with a substantial granite curbing, and the graves put in good condition. The remains of 247 persons are buried in the inclosure, most of whom are known."

On June 8, 1877, the Confederate Memorial Day article reads:

"The bands played dirges as the procession marched in column of fours, from the gate to the Confederate cemetery, and after passing around it formed a hollow square, inclosing the western portion, where the remains of privates Wm. Norfolk and Wm. Rinehart were to be interred. The deceased had been members of company C, First Maryland Infantry, and the remains brought to this city by the society some months ago and placed in a vault in Loudon Park Cemetery. Graves had been dug about thirty paces west of the Confederate monument, and the remains, inclosed in wooden boxes, deposited in them. The burial service of the Protestant Episcopal Church was read by Rev. Mr. Peterkin, assisted by Rev. T. Lewis Banister, after which the bones were consigned to a resting place among comrades. After the graves had been filled the gray clods were hidden by flowers, some of the choicest having been reserved for that purpose."

In 1884, Mrs. Gustavus Brown carried a banner to Confederate Hill while leading a group of young girls to the ceremony there. She left the banner at the base of the Jackson statue, which had a Confederate flag made of roses in its hand and a crown of roses and honeysuckles upon its head. The banner read:

"We keep memorial day in order that
the dust of time may not blind the eyes of our children
to the blaze of glory that arises
from the grave of every Confederate soldier."

 

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