The treatment of soldiers killed in action depended on which army held the battlefield after the guns fell silent. At South Mountain a few men from each Union regiment were assigned to burial details. To prevent the spread of disease, they lined up the dead where they fell and hurriedly buried them in shallow trenches. Under the best of circumstances it was not pleasant duty. The burial details processed their own dead first, often identifying bodies by notes pinned to the dead soldiers' uniforms. The Confederates who died at South Mountain were less fortunate. Most lost their identity at burial. Their last memorial was usually a simple inscription on a crude, wooden headboard that read: "100 dead Rebs buried here."
Some union families personally retrieved the bodies of their loved ones for reburial after the battle. Most of the Union dead, however, remained buried on the battlefield until 1867, when the War Department reinterred them in the Antietam National Cemetery. The National Cemetery trustees refused to accept the Confederate dead, so the State of Maryland provided a permanent burial ground at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown. The South Mountain Confederate dead were laid to rest at Rose Hill Cemetery in 1874.
These exhibits were designed and fabricated by SunSyne Products, Incorporated, Johnson City, Tennessee.
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