U. S. soldiers while prisoners at Andersoville had been detailed to inter their companions, and by a simple stake at the head of each grave, which bore a number corresponding with a similar- numbered name upon the Andersonville hospital received, I was enabled to identify and mark with a neat tablet, similar to those in the cemeteries at Washington, the number, name, rank, regiment, &c., and date of death, of 12,461, graves there being but 451 which bore the inscription "Unknown U. S. soldiers."
One hundred and twenty thousand feet of pine lumber was used in these tablets alone.
The cemetery contains fifty acres, and been divided by one main avenue, running through the center, and subdivided into blocks and sections in such a manner that, with the aid of the record, which I am now having copied for the superintendent, the visitors will experience no difficulty in finding any grave.
A force of men is now engaged in laying out walks and clearing the cemetery of stumps, preparatory to planting trees and flowers. I have already commenced the manufacture of brick, and will have a sufficient number by the 1st of October to pave the numerous gutters throughout the cemetery, the clay in the vicinity of the stockade being well adapted for the purpose of brickmaking.
Appropriate inscriptions are placed through the ground, and I have endeavored, as far as my facilities would permit, to transfer this wide, unmarked, and unhonored grave-yard into a fit place of internment for the Nation's gallant dead.
At the entrance the words, " National Cemetery, Andersonville Ga.," designate, the city of the dead.
On the morning of the 17th of August, at sunrise, the Stars and Stripes were hoisted in the center of the cemetery when a national salute was fired and several national songs sung by those present.
The men who accompanies me and to whom I an indebted for the early completion of my mission worked zealously and faithfully from early in the morning until late at night, although suffering intensely from the effects of heat. Unacclimated as they were one after another was taken sick with the fever incident to the country, and in a brief period my force of mechanics was considerably lessened, obliging me to obtain others from the residents in different parts of the State. All my men, however, recovered, with he exception of Mr. Eddy Watts, a letterer, who died on the 16th July of typhoid fever, after a sickness of three weeks. I brought his body back with me and delivered it to h is family in this city.
Several of the U. S. cavalry detailed by General Wilson died of the same fever shortly after joining their command at Macon.
Andersonville is situated on the Southwestern Railroad, sixty miles from Macon. There is but one house in the place, except those erected by the so-called Confederate Governments as hospitals, officers" quarters, and commissary and quartermaster's buildings. It was formerly known as Anderson, but since the war the "ville" has been added.
The country is covered mostly with pines and hemlocks, and the soil is sandy, sterile, and unfit for cultivation, and unlike the section of country a few miles north and south of the place, where to soil is well adapted, for agricultural purposes. Cotton, as well as corn, is extensively raised.
21 R R-SERIES III, VOL V