Battlefield National Cemetery Washington, D.C.

Battlefield National Cemetery
Battlefield National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

On July 12, 1864, 40 Union soldiers who died while defending Washington, D.C. from a two day Confederate attack (known as the Battle of Fort Stevens) were buried here in what was once an apple orchard.  President Lincoln dedicated the land as hallowed ground, making Battlefield National Cemetery one of America’s smallest national cemeteries.  President Lincoln was present at  Fort Stevens during the battle and came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters.

grave marker john davidson battlefield national cemetery
Gravestone, Battlefield National Cemetery

One of the burials is Private John Davidson, Company F, 43rd New York Infantry. Men from Company F were recruited at Sandy Hill, Washington County, New York.  Before the 1864 action in Washington, D.C., the 43rd had seen action at Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor.

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