National Cemetery Administration
Timeline: Civil War and National Cemeteries (1866)
April 13 A Joint Resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives authorized and required the Secretary of War:
..to take immediate measures to preserve from desecration the graves of soldiers of the United States who fell in battle or died of disease in hospitals; to secure suitable burial places in which they may be properly interred; and to have the graves enclosed so that the resting places of the honored dead may be kept sacred forever.
Over the course of the effort to locate Union soldiers' remains and reinter them into national cemeteries, Captain Whitman and his staff encounter local resistance in certain areas of the south, due in part to the growing national conflict over reconstruction.
in Nashville National Cemetery, 1867. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
August 9 The Quartermaster General issues General Orders No. 8 to the Military Division of the Tennessee, outlining the procedures for moving remains into national cemeteries. In part, the orders read:
The removal of 100,000 dead, scattered throughout the five States comprising this Military Division, to the National Cemeteries; is a work of no ordinary character, and will require, on the part of the officers and men entrusted with its execution, the utmost care and diligence, and it is hoped there will be an honorable emulation among all, to discharge the duty in the most careful and orderly manner.