Archive for August 30, 2013

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – The Confederate Pyramid

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

I never posted about the massive Confederate monument in Hollywood Cemetery during my series at Gettysburg Daily. That makes this post the first of the “lost episodes”.

South of Gettysburg Hill is a giant monument to the Confederate dead that was erected by the Hollywood Memorial Association in 1869. It’s a 90-foot, 4-sided stone pyramid on top of a hill. It makes for a very hard-to-miss landmark.

The Confederate Pyramid

The Confederate Pyramid. Photo by John Dolan.

Each face of the monument has an engraved stone with an inscription near the middle of it, about 6 feet off the ground. The one on the west side reads, “Erected by the Holly-Wood Memorial Association A.D. 1869”. On the south side, “Numini et Patri ae Asto” (my Latin is a little rusty, but I think this translates to “God and the Father Await”). On the north side, “Memoria in Aeterna” (or “Eternally in our memory”). Finally, the main inscription is on the eastern face:

The inscription dedicating the monument. Photo by John Dolan.

The inscription dedicating the monument. Photo by John Dolan.

As I said above, the pyramid is located just south of Gettysburg Hill, and is plainly visible on satellite photos. It’s that big.

The Confederate Pyramid is located inside the red box.

The Confederate Pyramid is located inside the red box.

In the short video below, I give a description of the monument and tell one of the stories people tell of how it was built.



Video by John Dolan
 

Next time, we’ll showcase another landmark in Hollywood Cemetery from the “lost episodes” archive.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – John Wesley Culp

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

Most Gettysburg nerds have heard of Wesley Culp – the boy from Gettysburg who went south and fought for the Confederacy. The story is that he was killed on Culp’s Hill (owned by members of his family) during the battle some time between July 2nd and 3rd, 1863.

John Wesley Culp

John Wesley Culp

As you can imagine, since we aren’t really sure when he died, we aren’t really sure where he died either. So we don’t know for sure where his remains ended up. That being said, he has a marker here at Hollywood:

The marker for John Wesley Culp. Photo by Scott L. Mingus, Sr.

The marker for John Wesley Culp. Photo by Scott L. Mingus, Sr.

This marker is located among the multitudes on Gettysburg Hill:

John Wesley Culp's marker is located at the red square.

John Wesley Culp’s marker is located at the red square.

I explain more about the controversy here (along with giving some more background on Private Culp) in the video below:



Video by George Skillman
In the next installment, we’re going to move away from the Gettysburg Hill section of the cemetery and explore some of the other notable landmarks.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – Richard B. Garnett

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

Anyone who has seen the movie Gettysburg knows the story of Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett (or at least an interpretation of it). The fact of the matter is that he is shrouded in some mystery.

For one thing, we don’t reliably know what he looked like. The usual picture that you see of him is this one:

Richard B. Garnett?

Richard B. Garnett?

But there’s some thought (spurned on by members of the Garnett family, I think) that perhaps this was a photo of his cousin, Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett, the first general killed during the Civil War. Apparently the two men had very similar features.

There is another photo that could be Garnett. This one was found in the Library of Congress labelled as “Franklin Gardner“. At least some people think that this is in fact, Brig. Gen. Garnett:

Is this Richard B. Garnett, and not Franklin Gardner?

Is this Richard B. Garnett, and not Franklin Gardner?

Yet another mystery surrounds the whereabouts of his remains. As I explain in the video below, none of the Union burial details ever made note of finding the remains of a General among the Pickett’s Charge dead.


Video by George Skillman
The location of his marker is right in the middle of Gettysburg Hill:

The monument to Richard Brooke Garnett is located at the red square.

The monument to Richard Brooke Garnett is located at the red square.

His “headstone” itself is also unique. Since the whereabouts of his remains is unknown, it’s more of a memorial than an actual marker. It was placed here (as it says) by family and friends in the 1990s.

The front of Richard B. Garnett's monument. Photo by John Dolan.

The front of Richard B. Garnett’s monument. Photo by John Dolan.

The back of Richard B. Garnett's monument. Photo by John Dolan.

The back of Richard B. Garnett’s monument. Photo by John Dolan.

In the next installment, we’ll highlight another mysterious “burial” on Gettysburg Hill.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – John T. Ellis

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

Another of Pickett’s officers that was involved on July 3, 1863 was Lt. Colonel John T. Ellis of the 19th VA Infantry. He didn’t participate in the attack itself though, because he was killed shortly before Pickett’s division set out across the field.

Lt. Colonel John Thomas Ellis

Lt. Colonel John Thomas Ellis

Ellis is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in the Gettysburg Hill section, just a short way down the hill from General Pickett himself.

The grave of John Thomas Ellis is marked by the red square.

The grave of John Thomas Ellis is marked by the red square.

In the video below, I give a very brief biography of Lt. Col. Ellis and explain how he was killed.


Video by George Skillman
And of course, we have a close-up shot of Lt. Col. Ellis’s headstone. One of many here on Gettysburg Hill.

The headstone of Lt. Col. John T. Ellis. Photo by John Dolan.

The headstone of Lt. Col. John T. Ellis. Photo by John Dolan.

Next time, we’ll talk about another high-ranking officer in Pickett’s division who is likely to be buried here among his men.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – “Gettysburg Hill”

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

The area of Hollywood Cemetery that we’ve been exploring so far is known as Gettysburg Hill. This hill got its name from the more than 2,000 Confederate dead from the Battle of Gettysburg that are buried in this section.

This stone marks the area where the Gettysburg dead are buried.

The marker where the Gettysburg dead are buried. Photo by John Dolan.

As we know, the Confederates didn’t hang around very long after the battle. They were on the road south by July 4. There was no way for the Confederates to collect or bury all of their dead – especially those who died near or beyond the Union lines. Those men were buried largely in mass graves by Union burial details and U.S. government contractors. So how did thousands of dead from Gettysburg end up in Richmond, VA?

The southern economy was wrecked by the war. Even families who wanted to exhume their relatives to move closer to home couldn’t afford to do so. It took until 1872 for the Hollywood Memorial Association to raise enough money to have a large number of these men – mainly the dead from Pickett’s Charge – moved to the cemetery. After nearly 10 years, there wasn’t much left of the remains, and no good method for identifying them. They were buried in a mass grave, much as they had been on the battlefield.

Since so many of the dead in this area were from Pickett’s Charge, Pickett himself chose to be buried on this hill near his men. For better or worse, July 3, 1863 really had become the defining moment in his life, and would remain so for all time.

In the last few years, headstones have been added to this section for the men who are likely to have been buried here. We’ll talk about a few of them in the next few posts, but for now, here are some views of the hill that we took during our visit two years ago:

Looking down the hill from the top. Photo by John Dolan.

Looking down the hill from the top. Photo by John Dolan.

A view from the opposite direction, looking up the hill. Note the top of General Pickett's monument at the top left. Photo by John Dolan.

A view from the opposite direction, looking up the hill. Note the top of General Pickett’s monument at the top left. Photo by John Dolan.

One more view from the bottom of the hill showing all the headstones. Photo by John Dolan.

One more view from the bottom of the hill showing all the headstones. Photo by John Dolan.

In the next post, we’ll talk about one of the men who is memorialized by a headstone in this section.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – Lewis B. Williams

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

Colonel Lewis B. Williams

Colonel Lewis B. Williams

Right next to Pickett’s grave is the grave of one of his officers, the commander of the 1st VA Infantry, Colonel Lewis B. Williams.

As most Civil War buffs know, Pickett’s Charge was a spectacular failure. In addition to a 50% casualty rate among the rank and file of the division, every single field officer under Pickett’s command was either killed, wounded, or captured. Colonel Williams was one of the men who was mortally wounded in the assault.

It was his decision to ride his horse across the field rather than walk – the same decision made by Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett that day – that was his undoing. When a shell exploded near him, he was thrown from the horse and landed on his own sword. He died later that night.

Like Pickett, his grave is located in the Gettysburg Hill section of the cemetery within a few feet of his division commander.

The red square marks the location of the grave of Lewis B. Williams.

The red square marks the location of the grave of Lewis B. Williams.

In the video below, I give a short biography of Colonel Williams and show his headstone. General Pickett’s marker is just behind the camera.


Video by George Skillman
 

Here’s a close-up shot of Lewis B. Williams’ headstone. It’s very distinctive and easy to recognize from a distance.

The headstone of Lewis B. Williams. Photo by John Dolan.

The headstone of Lewis B. Williams. Photo by John Dolan.

In the next installment, we’ll talk a little more about the Gettysburg Hill section of the cemetery and how it came to be. Then, we’ll move on to discussing some of the men who probably found their final resting places there.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – George E. Pickett

This is a continuation of my series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

We’re going to start out with one of the more famous figures buried at Hollywood Cemetery: Major General George E. Pickett.

Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett

Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett

His grave is located in the northern-most section of the cemetery near the area known as Gettysburg Hill.

The red square marks the location of George Pickett's grave.

The red square marks the location of George Pickett’s grave.

In the video below, I give a short biography of Maj. Gen. Pickett, and talk about some of the particulars of his “headstone” at Hollywood Cemetery, which was originally designed to be a monument to his division at Gettysburg.


Video by George Skillman
Here are some close-up shots of his monument, so that you can get a sense for how much it resembles a division monument (because in reality, that’s what it is). There’s a lot to it.

George E. Pickett's Monument at Hollywood Cemetery.

George E. Pickett’s Monument at Hollywood Cemetery. Photo by John Dolan.

Pickett's name and rank weren't added until later.

Pickett’s name and rank weren’t added to the monument until much later. Photo by John Dolan.

The plaque on the "front" of the monument

The plaque on the “front” of the monument. Photo by John Dolan.

A plaque honoring Kemper's brigade.

A plaque honoring Kemper’s brigade. Photo by John Dolan.

A plaque honoring Garnett's brigade.

A plaque honoring Garnett’s brigade. Photo by John Dolan.

A plaque honoring Armistead's brigade.

A plaque honoring Armistead’s brigade. Photo by John Dolan.

A plaque honoring Corse's brigade.

A plaque honoring Corse’s brigade. Photo by John Dolan.

A plaque honoring the artillery battalion that was attached to the division.

A plaque honoring the artillery battalion that was attached to the division. Photo by John Dolan.

Keeping with the Pickett theme, in the next few posts of the series, we’ll talk about a few officers who were killed in the famous attack that (rightly or wrongly) bears his name.

Gettysburg at Hollywood Cemetery – Intro

This is the beginning of a series on famous burials in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. Other posts in the series can be viewed here.

Two years ago, I did a series of guest posts for Gettysburg Daily about the Confederate soldiers and officials who are buried at Hollywood Cemetery and who have some type of Gettysburg connection.

I never got all the posts that I produced up onto the site before they stopped regular operations. I’d like to re-post that work here, and also put up the never-before-seen “lost” episodes. For now, we’ll have the introduction:


Video by George Skillman

Look for more posts in this series in the coming days. As I said in the video, Hollywood Cemetery is kind of the Arlington of the Confederacy.

A special thanks to my friend, John Dolan and my dad, George Skillman for making a few trips down to Richmond with me to get the photos and videos for these posts.