Stop 1: Unknown Graves
Of the 15,00 Union soldiers buried here, 85%--17 out of every 20—are unknown. Unknown burials are marked with the smaller, square stones while those shaped like a headstone mark the gravesites of identified soldiers. Unknown stones carry two numbers: the top number identifies the plot, the bottom number tells the number of bodies in that plot. Even when casualties were identified, it was very likely that families would not be able to collect the body. Whether because of distance, money, or the proximity to ongoing combat, most families had to leave their loved one buried in graves far away from home. For the families of men buried under unknown markers, the wait for information would be endless; many would never know what happened to their loved ones.