Department of the Gulf: The Cypress Grove Cemeteries

The New York Times, 1 May 1863

Note: The "Marine Hospital" mentioned is presumably Naval Hospital New Orleans. Newspapers of the era tended to refer to the naval hospitals interchangeably as both naval or marine. Marked naval burials in Cypress Grove #2 "Patriot's Cemetery" were moved March/April 1867 to Chalmette National Cemetery.

About one mile and a half from the centre of the city, by one of the numerous street railroads, you reach a number of well-kept graveyards, known by the general term of the Cypress Grove Cemeteries -- they are places, indeed, which have flourished in spite of the disastrous effects of the rebellion, and are the only human institutions of this locality that show no signs of collapse. Cypress Grove No. 2, was chosen under Gen. BUTLER's administration as a burial place for our soldiers of the "New-England division," and over 400 graves were made on the left-hand side of the road leading through the grounds. The place was low and in many respects unsightly -- in fact it had the appearance of being selected because it was not the most eligible and attractive compared with other sites in the vicinity. This idea was forcibly impressed upon Gen. Suepley and our Mayor, Capt. Miller, and they decided something better and more worthy should mark the resting-place of these most sincere defenders of our country. Capt. Miller was particularly earnest in the matter, and has given the subject, considering his many duties, much personal attention. The City Councils cordially seconded the proposed improvements, and under the immediate superintendence of Col. Thorpe, City Surveyor, they have been completed. The right-hand side of the graveyard, the highest and best ground, was decided upon as the most proper place, and the 427 bodies already buried were removed to the new resting-place, the grave boards carefully placed at the head of each grave, and the whole done in a neat and proper manner. Just beyond the spot thus occupied, the Marine and the United States Hospitals had selected a site, and are now using it for a burial-place, so that our soldiers and sailors who die in service are, as they should be, reposing side by side. A handsome picket fence, nearly eight hundred feet long, has been erected, which shuts off the sacred ground from the other parts of the graveyard. In the centre of the fence is an arched gateway, surmounted by an American eagle with drooped wings, and under his feet is inscribed in large letters, "PATRIOTS' CEMETERY." In addition, handsome walks and a carriage-way have been made throughout the grounds, and the entire effect is one calculated to give, though sad, but nevertheless a pleasurable feeling, that our brave hearts, who so promptly rallied to defend the flag of the Union, have had honor done to their remains, and that they rest in a place observable for the respectful care with which it is distinguished. The record of the grave-boards indicate that from New-England, with few exceptions, came these martyrs of liberty. Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont. New-Hampshire and Connecticut, have each contributed their quota, and as usual, are enriching the soil of the Union with the bones of their sons, who have ever been distinguished for their love of country, their devotion to liberty. There is hardly a family fireside in all New-England, that should not especially remember with gratitude our Mayor, Capt. J.F. Miller, for the interest he has displayed in thus honoring himself, his own home in Maine, and the country at large, in erecting the Patriots' Cemetery of New-Orleans.