Marietta National Cemetery
Located in Land Lot 1233, District 16
War Dead Cemeteries
With the death toll rising rapidly during the Civil War, the idea to bury war dead in national cemeteries was conceived in 1862. Many people mistakenly believe that the cemetery at Gettysburg, dedicated so eloquently by President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, was the first such cemetery. However, by the time it was built others existed from Annapolis, Maryland to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Start of Marietta National Cemetery
During the Atlanta Campaign and later "The March to the Sea," Union and Confederate dead were buried across the fields of Georgia. Henry Greene Cole, a prominent Marietta citizen and owner of Cole's, an inn near the railroad depot, proposed the idea for the Marietta National Cemetery Also supporting the idea was Dix Fletcher, owner of the Fletcher House. Both men were ardent Unionists.
Cole offered a few acres of land near downtown for the cemetery, and the offer was eventually accepted by the federal government. The cemetery was to contain the graves of both Union and Confederate dead. However, Marietta officials did not want Confederate dead to be buried near Yankee dead, so they formed a separate Confederate Cemetery.
Transferring of Soldiers
Over the next three years Union soldiers from Dalton to Augusta were disinterred and reinterred at the Marietta National Cemetery. These men had been buried with wooden grave markers, and by 1869, when the last group was transferred, many of the markers and the names were gone. More than 17,000 men are buried here, more than 3,000 of them unknown. Many of the men died during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and a total of 10,172 died during the Civil War.
About Henry Greene Cole & Dix Fletcher
In addition to running the Marietta National Cemetery, Cole and Fletcher worked for the Western and Atlantic Railroad after the war. Although many Southerners had doubts about both Cole and Fletcher's loyalties during the war, none of the suspicions were ever proven, although Mr. Cole did spend a few nights in a Confederate jail in South Carolina, suspected of being a Union spy. He was released after Joseph E Johnston surrendered in April, 1865.
Entrance to the grounds is through an arch on Washington Avenue. The grounds have a number of ways to locate markers. A number of states have erected monuments to the slain men buried on the beautifully landscaped grounds.