Stop 1: Urbane Bass

Urbane Bass

Stained glass image of Urbane Bass

Grave #10, Officer Row

Urbane Bass, buried at the end of what is named Officers Row, was the first African-American commissioned officer buried in the National Cemetery.  A graduate of the Leonard Medical School of Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, Bass moved to Fredericksburg in 1909 and served as its first black physician until the outbreak of World War I.  Despite the continued segregation of the army, Urbane offered his services for the Army Medical Corps in an April 1917 letter to the secretary of war.  He served in France as a lieutenant in the 372 US 93 Division.  He would earn the Distinguished Service Cross for the October 1918 action which cost him his life.  Attending to the wounded under severe shell fire, he was struck by a shell which severed both of his legs.  Despite the aid of his hospital attendants, Urbane died a few minutes later. 

Only 36 when he died, Bass left behind a wife and four children.  Maude, who is buried beside her husband, stayed in Fredericksburg until 1922, then moved to Raliegh, NC where she taught music to the blind for thirty years at the North Carolina State School for the Blind.  Thirty-two when Urbane died, she never remarried and lived to the age of 100, dying in October 1986.