This is the final post in my series on the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Memorial Day is the time when our nation honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. For this post, I selected about a dozen soldiers. These men range from those who fought in the Civil War to one who died in WWII. The Fredericksburg National Cemetery is the final resting place for men who died during the Civil War within a thirty mile radius of the cemetery. As such, here are short histories of men who fought and died during the battles of: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna, Mine Run, Massaponax and WWII, as well as some who died of sickness or served and died of old age. The cemetery contains the remains of over 15,429 people, of which we only know the names of 2,643. All the unknowns come from the Civil War. Therefore, I feel fortunate to even have this much information available with which to honor these men.
You will notice the records are less than perfect. This reflects an era where data entry was all done manually. Records were often copied into new rolls where there was little attention to detail, or the original writing was illegible. Perhaps a name was softly spoken before death or any other chance mishap could have occurred. Also, some quartermaster and hospital staff kept poor death and burial records. As a result, records were often contradictory, incomplete, missing, or erroneous. Curiously, one of my selected soldiers appears to possibly have been a Confederate soldier.
Within some of the personal summaries, you will notice abbreviations such as (ROH) that reflect the source of some of the information; ROH = Roll of Honor, NARA = National Archives Records Administration, State Records. I was able to supplement some of the information thanks to the National Park Service staff at Fredericksburg as well as a newspaper article and Don Phanz’s book (both of these are referenced at the end of this piece).
COLE, DARIUS J., SECOND LIEUTENANT
Company B, 7th Rhode Island Reserve
Born in Taunton, MA. Enlisted in Company G, 10th United States in April 1857 and served in Utah. Present at Mountain Meadows Massacre and served three years at Fort Bridges. Enlistment expired April 1862. Enlisted in Company B, 7th RI on 21 July 1862 and mustered in on 4 September 1862. Appointed First Sergeant and promoted to Second Lieutenant on 1 July 1863. Darius was taken prisoner for twelve days (dates not specified). He was killed in action at Spotsylvania on 12 May 1864 when struck in the shoulder by a bullet (NARA). He was originally buried on Gale’s Farm, Spotsylvania (ROH). Darius is buried at grave #952.
DERR, GEORGE R., PRIVATE
Company E, 8th Ohio
At age 18, George mustered in on 25 June 1861 for three years. He was killed 24 May 1864 in the Battle of North Anna (SR). He was originally buried at Doswell’s Farm, North Anna River (ROH). George is buried at grave #3808.
GRANT, ALFRED J., PRIVATE
Company G, 58TH Pennsylvania
Alfred died in May, 1864. He was originally buried at McCoull’s Farm, Spotsylvania (ROH). No soldier with this name or these initials served in the 58th PA. Additionally, the 58th PA did not serve in the Fredericksburg area. The body that occupies this grave was found near the Bloody Angle on the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield. It is apparent that the soldier’s remains were misidentified and the body found may have belonged to Private Andrew J. Grant of Company G, 58th Virginia, who was killed on 12 May 1864 near the Bloody Angle. Alfred is buried at grave #3867.
JEMISON, EDWARD E., FIRST LIEUTENANT
1st New Jersey Cavalry
The original roster and headstone has Jameson. Edward was the husband of Mary Jane Jemison (Barnart) and father of Abigail, Gardiner and Albert. At age 25, he enlisted on 13 August 1861 for three years. He mustered in as a Sergeant, Company E, on 20 August 1861. Edward was promoted to Orderly Sergeant on 1 January 1862 and First Sergeant on 12 January 1862. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 8 October 1862, and mustered into Company D on 24 October 1862 in Washington, D.C. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 12 June 1863 and mustered into Company I on 1 July 1863. Killed in action at Mine Run, Virginia, on the Plank Road between Fredericksburg and Gordonsville, of a gunshot wound through the heart. He was buried behind a nearby brick church (NARA). ROH states originally buried at Wilderness Battlefield, Spotsylvania. Edward is buried at grave #4028.
JETT, ADMOL L., PRIVATE FIRST CLASS
Company K, 318 Infantry Regiment, 80TH Division
There are at least 45 World War I veterans buried in this cemetery, several of whom were mortally wounded or killed in action. A native of Fredericksburg, Admol enlisted on 18 September 1917. As part of the 80th Division, Jett took part in the Meuse-Argonne campaign and was discharged on 3 June 1919. He lived in Fredericksburg and died on 26 November 1940 at age 51. Admol Jett’s son is buried in the same grave with his name on the reverse side of the stone.
JETT, ADMOL GLORIAL, CORPORAL
21ST Marines, 3RD Division
Admol Glorial Jett fought in WWII in Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Guam. Jett was serving as a forward gunnery observer when he sacrificed his life on Iwo Jima. He deliberately exposed himself to draw enemy fire in order to locate enemy gun positions. He was mortally wounded by a sniper, only after calling back directions which enabled Marine gunners to score a direct hit on an enemy position. He died on 1 March 1945 at age 22. At this point the cemetery was technically closed to additional interments so no new plot could be afforded Corporal Jett. Therefore, it was authorized to bury his remains in the same grave as his father. The official Western Union telegram reads:
“THE REMAINS OF CPL ADMOL G JETT WILL ARRIVE SOON UNDER THE RETURN OF WORLD WAR II DEAD PROGRAM. INTERMENT AUTHORIZED. SON’S REMAINS IN SAME GRAVE WITH FATHER AT REQUEST OF MOTHER.”
Corporal Admol G. Jett was the last soldier interred in this cemetery. Admol Gabrial is buried in Grave #6742.
PIERCE, JEROME, CORPORAL
Company H, 36th Massachusetts
At the time of his enlistment at age 31, Jerome listed his occupation as a mechanic, with a residence in Orange, Mass. He enlisted with fourteen men from his town on 4 August 1862 and mustered in on 27 August 1862. Jerome was killed on 12 May 1864. On the morning of May 12, a cold and rainy day, as part of XI Corps, his regiment advanced against the eastern face of the “Muleshoe Salient,” a huge outward bulge in the center of the Confederate line. It first drew fire at 4:30 a.m.
In a letter to his wife, Albinia, Peirce’s commander wrote, “Jerome knew our danger, yet he faced it like a brave soldier and was first of our company to fall. I did not see him fall as we were falling back under the cover of a fence, the enemy coming down on us and occupying the ground on which he fell. Consequently his body was in the enemy’s hands for about 15 minutes. It lay in a very exposed position, and it was impossible to move it. His body had to remain until after dark when we buried it the best that circumstances would permit. He was killed at about 7 AM. I found the bullet that killed him, which I took from his left breast. He must have died instantly. His grave is in a pine grove—well marked.”
Jerome was reinterred at the National Cemetery. In the early 1880s his family sent $100 to the Superintendent of the Cemetery, Andrew J. Birdsall and asked him to decorate the grave regularly. The Superintendent opened an account in the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Fredericksburg. He enlisted the help of his family to keep the grave decorated. Alice Heflin Abernathy continued her grandfather’s work of decorating the grave. The original account is still in a local bank and shows small withdrawals over the years. The Birdsall extended family continued to decorate the grave every Memorial Day. In 2005, the nieces gave the National Park Service $500 with which to buy flowers for Pierce’s grave once they can no longer do so, thus ensuring perpetuation of this tradition.
Jerome Pierce was originally buried at McCoull’s Farm, Spotsylvania (ROH). Jerome is buried in Grave #540.
ROBERTS, WARRENTON G., FIRST LIEUTENANT
Company E, 28TH U.S.C.T.
Warrenton enlisted for three years on 1 May 1864 in Washington D.C. He mustered into Company K or Company C as a 1st Lieutenant on 1 May 1864. He was wounded at Petersburg by the explosion of the mine at the Crater on 20 July 1864, resulting in the loss of his left hand, part of his left arm, and part of his left hip was shot away. He was discharged by reason of his wounds on 30 July 1864. Roberts was appointed First Lieutenant of the 16th Volunteer Reserve Corps on 13 March 1865. He was husband of Eliza A. Cain (She remarried Robert H. Scott on 9 September 1867) (NARA).
Roberts’s wooden marker read:
Sacred to the Memory
W. G. ROBERTS
–1st LIEUT. U.S.A.—
Who departed this life March 25, 1867
at Fredericksburg, Va.
in the 20th year of his life
He died of consumption on March 25, 1867, in Fredericksburg and was originally buried in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County (ROH). He probably knew the Union officers supervising the burials, which may explain the elaborate inscription on his headboard. Warrenton is buried in grave #3287.
SANDERS, JOHN W., PRIVATE
Company D, 140th Pennsylvania
John was mustered in on 22 August 1862. He died on 16 May 1863 at Potomac Creek of wounds received on 3 May 1863 at Chancellorsville (SR). He was originally buried at Arnold’s Farm, Stafford (ROH). John is buried in grave #5495.
SANTER, LOUIS, PRIVATE
Company M, 3RD U.S. Artillery
(NARA listed as SATTLER). Louis was 22 at enlistment with the occupation of soldier. He was born in Wortenberg, Germany. He enlisted on 25 October 1862 at Pleasant Valley, Maryland for the balance of his term. He died on 16 December 1862 at camp opposite Fredericksburg of dropsy (previous definition for edema possibly caused by congestive heart failure) (NARA) and originally buried at Phillip’s Farm, Stafford (ROH). Louis is buried in grave #5609.
SAUNDERS, SIMON, PRIVATE
Company K, 45TH Pennsylvania
Simon was born on 10 August 1840. His age at enlistment was 21. He enlisted on 21 September 1861 at Colombia for three years and mustered in on 12 October 1861 at Harrisburg PA. Muster rolls report that on 7 September 1862 he deserted in Washington, DC and returned from desertion on 23 April 1863. Sentenced by Court Marshal to six months hard labor and forfeiture of all pay due, and all that may become due at the end of the sentence. Simon was killed in action on 6 May 1864 at the Wilderness. Son of James and Annie Nagle Saunders, he had three brothers who also served during the war (NARA). He was originally buried at Wilderness Battlefield, Spotsylvania (ROH). Simon is buried in grave #3535.
SHONE, NOAH, PRIVATE
Company D, 142nd Pennsylvania
Noah died in 1863. He was originally buried at Marlboro Point, Stafford (ROH). His age at enlistment was 21, with an occupation of farmer. Shone was born in Somerset County. He enlisted on 1 August 1862 at Stoyestown for three years and mustered in on 22 August 1862. He was promoted to Corporal on 27 August 1862. There is some controversy over his death. The muster roll of 31 December 1862 reports him absent, sick and wounded at Fredericksburg on 13 December 1862, but the roll from March/April 1863 reports him missing on 13 December 1862. The company muster-out rolls of 29 May 1865 report him missing at the battle of Fredericksburg on 13 December 1862 and never heard from since. His final statement says he was supposed to have died of wounds received in action on 13 December 1862 at Fredericksburg. A notation in his service records states that his name in ROH is incorrect. Possibly listed as SHAFER, Noah W, Corporal, Company D, 142nd PA Age: 21. Noah is buried in grave #5162.
SORTORE, SAMUEL W., FIRST SERGEANT
Company E, 5TH New York Cavalry
Samuel’s age at enlistment is listed as 27. He enlisted on 24 August 1861 at Friendship for three years. He mustered in as a Sergeant on 31 August 1861, and reenlisted on 1 January 1864. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 16 May 1864 with rank from 29 March 1864. He was killed in action on 21 May 1864 in a skirmish near Bowling Green, and was originally buried at Massaponax Church, Spotsylvania (ROH). Samuel is buried in grave # 2506.
Pfanz, Donald, Where Valor Proudly Sleeps, A History of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, 1866-1933, Fredericksburg: unpublished manuscript, FRSPNMP, 2007. p 199.
Roster listing all persons buried in the cemetery in two volumes, on file with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Rokus, Josef W., The Free-Lance Star May 24, 2016. http://www.fredericksburg.com/features/history/once-lost-now-found-never-forgotten-a-memorial-day-tradition/article_cb21a58f-d11b-59db-994c-42dfb767d933.html
Roberts Headboard copy on file at FRSPNMP, Jerry and Lou Brent Collection, photographer: Frederick Theodore Miller.