Saturday morning, the colored Veterans section of the United States was honored by Par 4 as they laid wreaths for Christmas on their graves. “Each year we spend over $350 in wreaths to honor our veterans.
The graves of the colored veterans were placed along the back wall in a small section at the first opening of the Barrancas National Cemetery.
Only a number and their names appear on the grave along with the marking of USCT (United States Colored Troop)
The national cemetery was formed in 1862 with the Omnibus Act of July 17, 1862. It directed the president to purchase land to be used as “a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of the country.” Fourteen national cemeteries were established in 1862.
When hostilities ended, a grim task began. In October 1865, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs directed officers to survey lands in the Civil
War theater to find Union dead and plan to reinter them in new national cemeteries. Cemetery sites were chosen where troops were concentrated: camps, hospitals, battlefields, railroad hubs. By 1872, 74 national cemeteries and several soldier’ lots contained 305,492 remains, about 45 percent were unknown.
Most cemeteries were less than 10 acres, and layouts varied.
Today The National Cemetery lays to rest thousands of Army, Navy, and Marines of all creeds and colors.
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