Stop 2: Moesch Monument

Moesch Monument

Fredericksburg National Cemetery is a soldier’s cemetery.  There are no generals buried here and only a few field officers.  The vast majority of the soldiers interred here are enlisted men or company-grade officers who are not represented by a monument like that dedicated to Humphreys’ men.  Their memories are honored by a simple stone marker of which you will mainly see two types.  Those shaped like a headstone mark the gravesites of identified soldiers.  The smaller, square stones mark the graves of the unknown.  These stone carry two numbers: the top number identifies the plot, the bottom number tells the number of bodies in that plot.  There are also larger white headstones which mark the graves of soldiers who served in the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

Colonel Joseph Moesch is honored by one of the few privately funded headstones in the cemetery.  Moesch commanded the 83rd New York and was killed on May 6, 1864 in the Battle of the Wilderness.  Moesch’s body was originally buried in the cemetery at Ellwood and reinterred in the National Cemetery after the war.  Cemetery Superintendent Andrew Birdsall oversaw the interment of Moesch’s remains into the National Cemetery on October 10, 1887 in grave #6618.  Shortly afterwards, veterans of his regiment planned to place a monument on his grave.  These plans were delayed because the regiment was also raising funds for its monument at Gettysburg, but once the Gettysburg monument was finished they turned their attention back to the Moesch monument.  The monument was dedicated on September 24, 1890 in a ceremony largely attended by regiment veterans.