Southerners At Rest: Confederate Dead at Hollywood Cemetery
By Chris L. Ferguson
(October 2008 Civil War News)

Illustrated, bibliography, 336 pp., 2008. Angle Valley Press, P.O. Box 4098, Winchester, VA 22604, $34.95 plus shipping.

Reviewer: Blake A. Magner
Blake A. Magner is the Book Review Editor of Civil War News. He makes his living as an editor, writer, cartographer and photographer of Civil War history. He is author of At Peace With Honor: The Civil War Burials of Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For every Civil War enthusiast a trip to Richmond is not complete without a visit to Hollywood Cemetery. With approximately 18,000 soldiers interred there, including not only the famous but the unknown, walking the grounds is a heart-rending as well as inspirational experience.

Burials include such notables as Jefferson Davis, George Pickett, J.E.B. Stuart as well as names known to families or perhaps only to God.

The volume opens with an introduction by Richmond National Battlefield Chief Historian Robert E.L. Krick, known to most for his knowledge of the Civil War. The volume ends with nine pages of images of those buried in the cemetery. In between is a list of the soldiers interred in Hollywood Cemetery.

The list of dead itself is in alphabetical order providing the name of the soldier, his regiment, birth date, death date, burial section and plot, and a short comment like “Gettysburg Dead,” “Noted Lawyer” and “Engineer.” 

Hollywood Cemetery was founded in 1847 with its first burial in 1849. Its first years passed in relative obscurity, that is until July 5, 1858, when President James Monroe was re-interred on the grounds and elevated the cemetery’s status.

At the outbreak of the Civil War the cemetery became the burial place for soldiers who had died of wounds or disease at either Winder Hospital or the Jackson Hospital located nearby. Later, identified dead from Gettysburg were returned to Virginia and interred in the cemetery. Following the war old soldiers who died at the Robert E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home were also brought to the cemetery.

The first compilation of dead interred in the cemetery was a booklet the Ladies Hollywood Memorial Association published in 1869. Unfortunately the number of burials was low, yet over the years it has been used as a basis for further lists.

What author Chris Ferguson has done is expand the scope of researching the dead of Hollywood by using the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and also the ledgers of Richmond hospitals. By doing so he has compiled the most comprehensive list of Civil War soldiers buried in Hollywood Cemetery to date.

For those readers interested in cemeteries, Hollywood Cemetery buffs or genealogists, I would strongly recommend Southerners At Rest. The author has put an enormous amount of work into the volume and it shows.