In Augustwhile preparing a grave site for a rare burial of a World War II veteran at the Vicksburg National Cemetery in the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, cemetery workers were dismayed to find that the plot was already occupied by a casket.
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There was neither a headstone nor a record of interment in the space to suggest that the plot was occupied. Curious about the discovery, workers opened an adjacent plot, which was also believed to be empty.
This, too, was occupied by an unmarked and unrecorded casket.
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The unmarked interments were located in newer sections of the cemetery that, according to records, were opened in the beginning of the s. National Park Service NPS staff at Vicksburg promptly began efforts to identify the graves and determine if any more unmarked and unrecorded burials existed.
NPS archeologists assisted park officials at Vicksburg National Cemetery to locate additional unmarked and unrecorded burials, and sift through decades of archives to identify the unknown, buried individuals. National Cemeteries In July ofCongress passed legislation giving power to the president to purchase lands that would establish national cemeteries for soldiers that died in service of the United States.
Today there are a total of national cemeteries.
Most are maintained by the Department of Veteran Affairs; two by the U. Inat the onset of government reorganization, the NPS inherited 14 national cemeteries from the War Department, an earlier form of the current Department of Defense.
The remaining 12 date to the Civil War and contain burials from fallen soldiers thereafter.
History of Vicksburg Cemetery Burial detail at work on Vicksburg battlefield. Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to General Ulysses S.
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At the end of the Vicksburg siege, over 15, battle victims were scattered in burials hastily dug to prevent disease from spreading, with minimal resources and with few attempts to mark the deceased. At the end of the Civil War, the United States government purchased 40 acres of land to serve as the final resting place for those who died during the battles in and around Vicksburg. One of the objectives was to identify and rebury soldiers to this tract of land.
Bynearly all of the relocated Civil War deceased were transferred to the newly designated cemetery. Marble was used to distinguish the 16, graves, headstones to demarcate the identified individuals and blocks etched with a number for the unidentified burials.
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Https://find-lovetoday.site/e10/teaching-the-1291.phpVicksburg Cemetery closed for future burials, with exceptions given to grave sites for veterans and widows who had reserved space.
Today, the Vicksburg National Cemetery occupies manicured acres high above the Mississippi River and includes more than 18, interments: 17, from the Civil War—of those, 12, are unknown soldiers. Records indicate that there are there are 61 outstanding reservations; although based on the date of reservation, some of those individuals are likely to have been buried elsewhere.
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Identifying Unmarked Graves NPS staff at Vicksburg needed an effective, yet non-intrusive, means to identify additional, unmarked graves. They decided the best method was to use ground penetrating radar GPR. GPR is a non-invasive surveying method used by archeologists and geophysicists to view subsurface inconsistencies.
Similar to echolocation, in which a sound wave is bounced off objects to determine location, GPR emits electromagnetic waves into the vicksburg and captures the reflected signal with an antenna connected to the machine. The results are viewed on a screen that displays the subsurface profile in two dimensional and three dimensional images. The natural electromagnetic properties of the soil rendered on the display appear in a uniform, undisturbed pattern.
If any underground anomalies are present, such as a pipe or an animal burrow, they will reflect the electromagnetic waves differently than the adjacent soil and produce a noticeable pattern when displayed on the screen. In order to obtain the best results, technicians drag the machine along go here in a gridded field.
When looking for burials, it is important to consider the dating sites of the signal that is emitted in relation to the orientation of the burial. Walking parallel to a grave will not display a reflected radar signal as well as walking perpendicular to a grave; therefore, a technician will cross over the same location to achieve the best image. Technicians then compile multiple data images from the results, and develop a layered image representing the subsurface contents at different depths.
GPR Investigations at Vicksburg Graphic representation of radar returns indicating possible unrecorded grave sites.
Army Corps of Engineers provided assistance in surveying possible unmarked gravesites. According to the final NPS reports McNeil,surveyors detected a possibility of 62 unmarked graves within 1.
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When they viewed their results, 27 more anomalies were located in this small amount of land. These results of the geophysical testing provided archeologists with high probability locations in.