June 15, 1864 A Living Memorial

Today in History

As the Civil War ground on to a fourth dreadful year, the church yards and burial plots of the formerly United states strained under the weight of carnage, produced by the cataclysm of war.

The 37th Congress declared the former home of Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee and Robert Edward Lee forfeit for non-payment of tax, the Mansion on the hill and surrounding grounds auctioned to the Federal government. P1010272_0003_003One day, the United States Supreme Court would rule the act an unlawful taking and compensate Lee family descendants, but that must be a story for another day. As 1863 drew to a close, the property was destined to become the nation’s most hallowed ground and known to posterity, as Arlington National Cemetery.

The first military interment on the Custis-Lee property was that of Private William Henry Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry, laid to rest on May 13, 1864. On…

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