are painted, in white and lettered in black, with the name, company regiment, and date of death. I would there remark that unless tablets are painted before lettering the wood will absorb the oil in the paint and the rain soon wash off the lead in the lettering.
By much pains and labor off the succeeded in preparing a mortuary record for future reference, giving a succinct history of the deceased, every page of which has been compared with the records of hospitals, and up to the present date believed to be the most reliable register of the dead extant. Information is daily furnished to numerous friends respecting deceased soldiers, and frequently before it can be obtained elsewhere, as the record is always kept up to date, no matter how greatly may be the mortality.
In accordance with Special Orders, Numbers 132, headquarters Middle Military Division, Washington, D. C., June 7, 1865, I proceeded to the battle-fields of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court-House for the purpose of superintending the interments of the remains of Union soldiers yet unburied and marking their burial places for future identification. This work was commenced on the 12th and completed on the 24th of that month. Careful search was made over the above mentioned battle-fields, and the remains of all soldiers, both Union and rebel, interred, and headboards, with name, rank and regiment placed at each grave (with some exceptions in cases of rebels) when it was possible to identify the deceased. The words "Unknown U. S. soldiers that could not be identified.
On the battle-ground of the Wilderness two cemeteries are laid out, inclosed by a paling fence. Cemetery Numbers 1 is on the Orange Court House turnpike, about two miles from the Wilderness Tavern, and contains the remains of 108 men. Cemetery Numbers 2, is on the Orange Court-House plank road, about two miles and a half from the junction of the Orange Court-House turnpike, and contains 534 men. The sites are well adapted for the resting- places of those who fell in the vicinity, having been selected where the carnage appeared to be the greatest.
It was no unusual occurrence to observe the bones of our men close to the abatis of the enemy; and in one case several skeletons of our soldiers were found in their trenches. The bones of these men were gathered from the ground where they fell, having never been interred, and by exposure to the weather for more than a year all traces of their identity were entirely obliterated.
On the battle-field of Spotsylvania but few men were found, unburied, many of them having been interred by a Mr. Sanford, who resides at Spotsylvania Court-House, in compliance with an agreement to that effect with General Sherman while on his march to Washington City. Over 700 names were found in this battle- field, and tables erected in memory of the deceased.
It was my intention to remove those partly buried to a suitable site for a cemetery, but the weather being exceedingly warm, and the unpleasant odor from decayed animal matter was so great as to make to removal impracticable. They were, however, carefully recovered with earth and entirely hidden from view.
Hundreds of graves on these battle-fields are without any mark whatever to designate them and so covered with foliage that the visitor will be unable to find the last resting-places of those who have fallen until the rains and snows of winter wash from the surface the light covering of earth and expose their remains.