Thursday, October 12, 2017

Confederate Cemetery at Rock Island Arsenal

On a visit to the Quad Cities, as my husband and I were planning to visit the Rock Island Arsenal, I came across the Confederate Cemetery among the listing of sites. I tried to wrap my head around why there would be a Confederate Cemetery in a union state and then learned that there had been a prisoner of war camp at the arsenal. The cemetery is the final resting place of all those who died while being held at the camp during the war.

The cemetery is all that remains of the prisoner of war camp that held over 12,000 inmates over the course of the war. Nearly 2,000 are buried in the Rock Island Confederate Cemetery, who succumbed to injuries and disease between 1863 and 1865. The cemetery covers approximately three-quarters of an acre of white stones (installed in 1908 to replace wooden markers.) Four confederate cannons sit at the entrance.

As with a visit to any military cemetery, you're hit with a mix of sadness and respect for those who served. The soldiers laid to rest there may have fought for the losing side, but they fought and served for a cause they believed in. As American soldiers it's good to see that they were laid to rest with dignity.

Down the road is the Rock Island National Cemetery, which stands in stark contrast as it is massive in size. Click here for more information. **Be aware that the Rock Island Arsenal is an active military facility and a guest pass must be obtained for entrance. Passes can be obtained at the visitors center with a photo ID and additional paperwork.

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