Stop 2: Joseph A. Moesch
Fredericksburg is a soldier’s cememtery. 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 whose 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. Of the 15,00 Union soldiers buried here, 85%--17 out of every 20—are unknown.
A few soldiers are honored by larger headstones erected at private expense, such as this one to Joseph Moesch. Colonel Moesch commanded the 83rd New York, and is the 2nd highest ranking officer buried in the cemetery. The thirty-two year old officer was killed at the Wilderness May 6, 1864 while leading his regiment. His body was carried to the division hospital, placed in a rude coffin, and originally buried in the cemetery at Ellwood. The two men who buried him remembered the location of his grave and he was reinterred in the National Cemetery in 1887.