CROWN HILL CEMETERY PROJECT
On October 3rd 1993 a four year project was completed when a monument was dedicated to 1,616 Confederate soldiers and sailors at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In 1989 two Indianapolis police officers, interested in historical preservation, started an effort to have the mass grave of Confederate prisoners of war properly marked. Four years later, after being joined by such organizations as the Civil War Roundtable, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Sons of Union Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Southern Club and many other groups and individuals, a new Confederate memorial was dedicated.
In Indianapolis during the Civil War, 1,616 Confederate soldiers and sailors died from the harsh treatment and conditions prevalent in military prisons in those days. These men were being held in Camp Morton, which held approximately 5,000 prisoners at any one time. A total of 15,000 men passed through the camp between 1862 and 1865. Orignally, the Confederates who died while being held at Camp Morton were buried at Greenlawn Cemetery near downtown Indianapolis. Years later when bodies were removed from this cemetery to make way for industrialization, the first monument to the Rebels was removed to a city park. Several years later, the bodies of the Confederates were moved to Crown Hill Cemetery, without their monument.
Since the 1912 monument would no longer fit onto the mass grave site at Crown Hill, a new marker at Crown Hill stated "1,616 Unknown Confederates". But, records from the National Archieves and from the old monument, revealed all of the names, dates of death and ranks of the deceased. So the Crown Hill Cemetery Project was created to right this wrong. This effort proved to be the forerunner of the current Indiana Coalition to Honor Civil War Dead.
At a beautiful ceremony in 1993, before hundreds of onlookers, the new Confederate Memorial was dedicated at a service attended by many officials and relatives of the dead. The keynote speaker was Congressman Andrew Jacobs, a supporter of the project. At this dedication were military honor guards from the United States Army and Civil War reenactors.
Now the 1,616 Americans buried at the Confederate mound in Crown Hill rest in peace, properly recognzied at last.
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