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Salisbury Confederate Prison At Salisbury National Cemetery, 202 Government Rd, Salisbury, NC [South Railroad St at the end of Military Ave.] Prison 1861 - 1865 & National Cemetery 1887 - Present

The following is an excerpt from, “Roll of Honor (No. XIV), Names of Soldiers Who In ‘Defence’ of the American Union, Suffered Martyrdom in the Prison Pens Throughout The South.”

From, “ Quartermaster General’s Office, General Orders No. 7, February 20, 1868.”



This Cemetery is situated near Salisbury, Rowan county, N. C., which is on the North Carolina Railroad, and about 132 miles west of Raleigh.

Originally there were two soldiers’ Cemeteries at Salisbury. The first and principal one is situated on a small hill, about half a mile southwest of Salisbury, and about one hundred yards south of the North Carolina Railroad, and is enclosed with a board fence, and contains about one and a half acres of ground.

It contains thirteen (13) trenches, in which were buried, without coffins or boxes, and without any means of identifying them, (except sixteen (16) belonging to the Masonic Fraternity,) about five thousand (5,000) bodies of deceased Union soldiers, who died while confined in the Salisbury prison, and in hospitals near the “stockade,” during the rebellion.

The burial of these soldiers in so inhumane a manner was done by one Sergeant Harris, under the orders of Major Gee, both of the rebel army. Out of some nine or ten thousand soldiers confined there, over five thousand fell victims to the cruelty of the rebels then in charge, by starvation and disease.

The other, called the Lutheran Cemetery, was situated about one hundred and fifty (150) yards northwest of the railroad depot. The exact number of graves of Union soldiers buried in this Cemetery could not be ascertained, on account of the indiscriminate burial of rebels in the same ground; also on account of the irregularity of the graves, and of the want of head-boards.

In this Cemetery were buried fourteen (14) Union soldiers, who, upon taking the oath of allegiance to the rebel government, were admitted into the rebel hospital, where they after- wards died. There is no record of State, regiment, or arm of service of these men; no head-boards at their graves; and therefore they cannot be identified.

The bodies from this Cemetery, and some others from the vicinity of Salisbury, estimated in all at about one hundred (100) in number, are now being re-interred in the principal Cemetery.

The trenches are each to be surrounded by a wall about one foot in height, which is to be filled up with earth, making a mound over the trench, and grass seed is to be sown. The paths are to be neatly graveled, trees set out, and wooden tablets, painted white, to be erected, with the following inscription in black letters: “U. S. Soldiers. Unknown.”

In the centre of the Cemetery is to be raised a mound or a circle thirty (30) feet in diameter, with a proper flag-staff in the centre. The whole is to be surrounded by a neat and substantial fence, with a gateway, over which will be an arc, bearing the inscription, “United States National Cemetery,” and such other improvements are to be carried out as will tend to give a neat and attractive appearance to the place.

Click to learn more about the effects of the Civil War on everyday people.