There they lie, sleeping serenely under a Southern sky. Their spirits are unruffled by the disturbing broadcasts of
television, radio and/or other news media. They are quite undisturbed. They came to this part of United States of America from many areas, north, east, south and west. And they have stayed. "They" are the dead who "rest forever from their labors" in the small plot of ground known as the old Augusta Arsenal '" cemetery. The Arsenal, abandoned by the U.S. Government in 1955 is now the site of Augusta College, a branch of the University of Georgia.
Theirs are simple stones, many with names only; no epitaphs; no rank; nothing to distinguish them; all as uniform as the clothes they wore. The U.S. Government designated the cemetery was by as a burial ground for military personnel and members of their families sometime after the relocation of the Arsenal in 1826. On a number of occasions, burial of a military man's wife, mother, or children, was permitted; and there were instances in which military personnel had space reserved in the cemetery for interment of such close relatives.
The first military man to die after the Arsenal was moved from its former Savannah river location (in 1826) was buried in the Walker family cemetery which adjoins the Arsenal's burying ground. Later a second man was buried there also, and a third, and then a fourth and fifth. They were no blood kin to the Walker family. When Freeman Walker sold the 72? acre tract of land, with its "Bellevue" cottage, to the U. S. Government, he stipulated that one acre of the tract would be reserved for the Walker family cemetery. There were already several members of the family buried there when the land was sold to the U.S. Government. Later, a survey was made to determine the exact location of the burial acre, and the Government set aside an additional acre for a military cemetery, immediately adjoining that of the Walker family ground.
The first military man to be interred (February 1841) in the military cemetery was assigned to "Section 1, Grave 3, Row B", but there had been three graves occupied before that date. Human bones, representing three individuals, (Indians, maybe?) had been unearthed during excavations by the Government for construction purposes. They were buried in Section 1, in Grave 1 of Row A, Grave 1 of Row B, and Grave 2 of Row B. These graves have small headstones bearing a single word: "Unknown". There is another grave, nearer the middle of the cemetery, with a similar stone bearing the word "Unknown", but it is unknown what the circumstances were surrounding that interment. Every grave is numbered
on a plat of the cemetery, and every interment was carefully recorded and reports made to the proper office in Washington, D.C. The Government, upon receipt of the report, then had a headstone shipped to the Arsenal for erection over the grave of the deceased. Several stones vary from the regulation Government supplied stone. The largest marker in the small plot is for a Sergeant William Frey of U.S. Ordnance, who died January 17,1896, and a 11 similar stone nearby marks the grave of his wife, Tabitha, who died twenty years later, on December 6, 1916. These dates appear on their stones, which evidently were provided by members of the family. The stone over Tabitha has this verse from the Bible, "I know that my Redeemer liveth".
Several stones bear the name and underneath the word "child" for "infant". One stone marks the grave of a sailor who took his own life. One indicates that it was placed by an organization of which the deceased was a member. Several of the graves are grown over with grass and weeds and the cemetery in general is unkempt. Some of the graves have had brick copings around them; there are indications that flowers were once planted within in the bricks.
The official record shows the persons listed on the last t pages of this article to have been buried in the Augusta Arsenal cemetery. This record is in the Government archives and a copy is in the possession of the Arsenal's official historian, the writer of this article. Keeping of the cemetery record was one of the incidental duties of the historian. Adjoining the Arsenal cemetery is the graveyard of the Walker family. Customs and modes of the early nineteenth century are brought to remembrance by a stroll through this plot of hallowed ground. There are many impressive tombstones and epitaphs in rhetorically elegant language. Fifty years ago there were more stones than exist today. Time and dense shade have eroded many stones, especially those made of the softer materials, and many have suffered from the rains and winds of the long years.
Circa 1954, there was a pile of broken pieces stacked by a gate to be hauled away. The lettering on these stones
had worn away completely, the stones had split, or broken, and fallen to the ground. In 1926, this writer first visited this cemetery. It had been necessary at that time to dust talc on the flat stones in order to read and record the epitaphs, and then it was difficult. Some words were deciphered by running a finger in the lettered grooves. Inscriptions vary from the inspirational to a sad recounting of sorrow; some bring to the imagination a picture of duels and assassinations, as well as the fatal results of ravaging disease.
The remains of "George Walker, Esquire, who died the 15th day of September, 1801" lie near those of Freeman Walker
from whom the 72 acre plot was deeded to the United States Government. The flat stone above Freeman Walker bears an epitaph couched in the language of the celebrated poet, Richard Henry Wilde. It reads
"Consecrated to the cherished memory and mortal relics of Freeman Walker an able and successful advocate a graceful and fluent speaker his influence as a statesman his reputation as an orator, his urbanity as a gentleman were embellished and endeared by social and domestic virtue. Long a distinguished member of the bar, often elected to the legislature of the state, he at length became one of her senators in Congress and retired after two years of honorable service to resume a profitable profession which he practiced with untiring industry and unblemished character until shortly before his death. Generous, hospitable, and human, of cheerful temper and familiar manners, he was idealized by his family, beloved by his friends, admired by his countrymen. Even party spirit in his favour forgot something of its bitterness and those who differed from the politician did justice to the man born in Virginia on 25 October 1780. His brilliant and useful life was terminated by a pulmonary complaint, at his residence near Augusta on the 23 September 1827 in the 47th year of his age."
Also illustriously memorialized was one of the family is buried on the same sections "Here lie the remains of Robert Walker who departed this life on the 6th day of May A.D. 1825 aged 50 years 10 months and 24 days. A native of Charles City County Virginia he migrated to Georgia in the year 1791 and adopted the profession of the law. Having during a large portion of his professional life filled to the satisfaction of the public and dutifully to the state the offices of Governor General and Judge of the Superior Court to the latter of which he was repeatedly called. He died a victim to a pulmonary disease having well sustained a character of the purest benevolence and most extended philanthropy and leaving a bright example of excellence in all relations of life."
While no stone could be found for John, his wife's epitaph is flowery: "Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Eliza
Walker, consort of John Walker: Blessed with the Christian hope she closed a well-spent life at Bellvue Cottage on the 21st day of November 1842. Aged 66 years. She left a name associated by her friends with whatever is most lovely
in social excellence and securely and tenderly embalmed in the hearts of her surviving children and other relations.
Jesus can make a dying bed as loft as downy pillows are While on His breast I lean my head and breathe my life out sweetly there."
Another kinsman's epitaph stirs the mind to colorful imagery: "Underneath this stone rest the mortal remains of Augustus Z. Regail, Esq. A native of N.Y. who departed this life on the 9th day of May 1830 aged 36 years. Warmly attached to his country for nearly 13 years, he discharged the duties of an officer in its services with exemplary zeal and fidelity. Compelled by declining health he returned to the quietness of private life. A stranger to fear he was won to repentance by the rich display of divine mercies exhibited in the Gospel of Christ. Months of patience and uncomplaining endurance proved the reality of his change, tested his pious resignation, brightened his Christian Character and gradually matured him for Heaven. Willing to bear the whole will of God, yet willing to depart and be with Christ he waited for his change in calm and holy expectation and at length full of faith and assured in hope he was released from mortal suffering to enter into his rest. Reader, let his experience be thy warning. Formed at once to please and to enjoy the world he tried it to the utmost and found it vanity and vexation of spirit. He acquainted himself with God through a crucified Savior and was at peace.
On one side of those "mortal remains" lies the wife and on the other side " George Walker, son of Augustus L. & Anna T.Regail. Born and died on the 4th day of August 1827 at Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island, S.C."
Ghosts of fiery emotions hover around markers, which tell of dastardly deeds. One beautiful stone reads "A tribute of appreciation to my beloved husband Augustus R. Bohler who fell by a deadly weapon in the hands of an enemy in Augusta, Georgia, May lst 1865 aged 28 years. Peace to his ashes. Night falls but soon the morning light its glories shall restore, and Thus the eyes that sleep in death shall wake to close no more."
Within a few steps stands a shaft memorializing Major William H.T. Walker "born in Augusta Georgia November 26,1816. Killed in Battle of Atlanta, July 22,1864. His soul to Him who gave it rose, God lead it to its long repose, its glorious rest. And though the warrior's sun has set, its light shall a; linger round us yet, bright, radiant, blest."
Another Civil War casualty was: "Maj. John David Walker, died from wound received 2nd battle of Manassas 1862. Aged 37 years. Rest, soldier, rest, thy warfare o’er."
Not far away is: "James, son of Sergt Luke and Catherine Walker, Co, M2, Artillery... and another gravestone reading:
"In memory of Anna Euphremia Regail Reab. She ...departed this life 16th February 1845 in the comfort of a reasonable religious and holy hope through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Not only are the military prominent and immortalized, as witness: "'Wm. Robinson, Exeter, N.H. September 18,1893.
Died at Summerville, Ga. May 15,1864. A resident of Augusta and its vicinity for nearly 50 years, he was known as a
courteous gentleman, an honorable merchant, and benefactor of the poor."
Other interesting names and epitaphs include Robert D. Lacy, Agnes Boyce and Melvina L.M. Poe 1805: "Sacred to the memory of Catherine Thomas who died in the year 1818. Aged 62 years." And, "Here lies the remains of Phebe Douglass, daughter of David Croswell late of Wilkes County, Ga. Born Nov. 14, 1792, died Aug. 12, 1823. "
The accomplished and highly regarded Madame Octavia Celeste Valentine Walker LeVert (granddaughter of the famous George Walton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, daughter of Sarah Walker Walton and wife of Dr. Henry LeVert of Mobile, Alabama) has a simple stone: "Octavia Walker LeVert born August 11,1811, died March 12,1877". So does another prominent Augustans "L.A.R. Reab Dec. 16, 1844, July 3,1909. Father, daughter and granddaughter rest on a well kept, flower decorated plot: "Joseph H. Milligan Aug. 8, 1861?Dec.18, 1931"; "Josie Milligan, wife of J. Marion Adams,
Jan. 31, 1904-March 24,1927.": "Arabella Walker, daughter of J.M. and J.M. Adams, February 22,1927-March 13,1927."
Among the prominent Arsenal persons buried in the Walker family cemetery are two past commanding officers: "Sacred to the memory of Major Nathan Hale Baden for twenty-three years officer in the United States Array who died November 30,1836, Aged 45. Distinguished for talents and zeal as a soldier for great honor and pure and lofty sentiments as a gentleman. He was eminently kind and courteous in social intercourse and amiable and exemplary in his domestic relations". "Col. Geo. W. Talcott, Ordnance Dept. U.S. died while in command of Augusta Arsenal, June 8,1854."
The body of an Arsenal "storekeeper" lies within the Walker plots: "The grave Of Thomas M. Chandler, born in Lexington,
Mass. May 9th, 1801, Obt. September 1st 1836." Also, "John Leeds Tilgham died Dec. 11, 1862 aged 25, born Sept. 30,
1837, 3rd son of General Tench Tilgham of Talbot Co., Md., Lieut. Huger Battery Norfolk Va. C.S.A."
One other Arsenal soldier is buried in the Walker cemetery: "Sacred to the memory of Henry Thompson, Ordnance
Sergeant. Born in Johnstown Montgomery Co., New York, who 1 died 10th Sept. 1840, aged 43 years."
For many years an old Army caisson stood in the center of the Arsenal cemetery, a silent sentinel over the graves, which surrounded it?? mute evidence of the past, the old, out-dated horse and buggy days. It is gone now, rusted, deteriorated and destroyed. There it, and the marble stones which mark the graves, reminded the passersby of the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death.
So, soundlessly, dreamlessly, they sleep quite close to one another, Confederate and Federal, civilians and soldiers, infants and adults. All is peace and quiet for them. Tall trees and green grass are their constant companions in Spring, in Summer, Autumn, and Winter. They have no more reveille, "taps", morning nor evening guns. They are the dead; "short days ago they lived, felt dawn, saw sunset's glow, loved and were loved, and now they lie" in quiet sleep-for all eternity.
Unknown Unknown Sect.1 Gr.1 Row B
Unknown Unknown Sect.1 Gr.2 Row B
James Holmes, Pvt., Co. B,
Regt. 3 , U.S. Artillery Feb. 5, 1841 Sect.1 Gr.3 Row B
John Kelly, Pvt., CO. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance, Sect.1 Gr.4 Row B
P.M. Fadden, Pvt., CSA Sect.1 Gr.5 Row B
Thomas Hannon, Pvt., CSASect.1 Gr.6 Row B
Unknown Sect.1 Gr.7 Row B
J.W. Doyle, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect.1 Gr.8 Row B
John Galvin, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect.1 Gr.1 Row C
William Holden, Cpl., Co. Det.,
U:S. Ordnance 1925(?) Sect.1 Gr.10 Row C
James Davis, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. OrdnanceSect. 3 Gr.1 Row A
J.A. VanLeuven, Pvt., Co. Det., Sect. 3 Gr.2 Row A
Henry Carne, Pvt., CSA SectSect. 3 Gr.2 Row A
J.W. Guyton, Pvt., Co. Det. Sect. 3 Gr.1 Row D
James Ryan, Cpl., Co. D, 3d Regt.,Sect. 3 Gr.2 Row D
Louis Daum, Sgt., Co.C, 2d Regt.
U.S. Infantry Sect. 3 Gr.3 Row D
Zachary Hester, Pvt., Co.B., 3d Regt.
U.S. Infantry ("War with Spain") Sect. 3 Gr.4 Row D
Henry Redelix, Sgt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect.3 Gr. 5 Row D
H.N. Clark, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. OrdnanceSect.3 Gr. 1 Row E
John Guyton,Pvt., Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 3 Gr. 2 Row E
George Lindsey, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 3 Gr. 4 Row E
Earl Erbach, Pvt., Co. Det.?,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 3 Gr. 5 Row E
J. N. Cosgrove, Cpl., Co. Det.,
U . S . Ordnance Sect 3 Gr. 6 Row E
John Dobbins, 3d Regt.,
U.S. Artillery Sect 2 Gr. 10 Row B
Adolph Hillegeist, Sgt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance 1927 Sect 2 Gr. 2 Row C
James Lane, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 3 Row C
Charles Dorler, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 4 Row C
Morgan Piper, Cp1., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 5 Row C
Henry Guerre, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 6 Row C
James Walsh, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 7 Row C
John W. Atkin, Sgt., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Sect.2 Gr.8 Row C
Charles E. Clark, Pvt., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Sect.2 Gr. 9 Row C
W.H. Roberts, Pvt., Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 4 Gr. 2 Row A
Patrick Donoughve, Pvt., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Sect 2 Gr. 3 Row A
James Long, Pvt. , Co. Det.,
U.S. Ordnance Sect 4 Gr. 4 Row A
Albert Duerer, Cpl., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Sect 4 Gr. 5 Row A
William Frey, Sgt., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Jan. 17, 1896 Sect 4 Gr. 6 Row A
James A. Sapp, Pvt., Co. Det.
U.S. Ordnance Sect 4 Gr. 7 Row A
*Milledge Mills, Cpl., Co. A, l0th Regt.
U.S.V. Inf. (Col.)Sect 4 Gr. 5 Row D
*Hugh Pollard, Pvt., Co.C, 10th Regt.
U.S.V. Infantry (Col.) Sect 4 Gr. 6 Row D
*W.C. Brown, Pvt., Co.C, l0th Regt.
U.S.V. Infantry (Col.) Sect 4 Gr. 7 Row D
Charles Pfahler, Commissary Sgt.,
(Retired) Feb. 5, 1926 Sect 3 Gr. 6 Row D
Harry Anthony Duggan, U.S. Navy Dept.
March 11,1926Sect 3 Gr. 7 Row D
John Mays, Corporal, (Retired)
U.S. Ordnance July 25,1926 Sect 3 Gr. 4 Row A
Louis Wittemer, Corporal
(Retired, U.S. Ordnance)March 16,1928 Sect 3 Gr. 6 Row A.
Marion A, Smith, Sgt., (Retired)
U.S. Ordnance March 26,1928 Sect 4 Gr. 9 Row A
Hiram W. Frost, Pvt., Co. G, 136th Regt.
Ohio Infantry USA April 21,1933 Sect.3 Gr.2a Row A
Clifton Clary, Pvt. Co. K,
4th Regt. U.S. ArtilleryFeb.19, 1934 Sect 2 Gr. 5 Row B
Alfred E. Bailey, Pvt. ; Co. D,
83rd Regt. Field ArtilleryAug.4, 1938 Sect 2 Gr. 9 Row B
Joseph Luttringer, Cpl.,
US Ordnance Feb.1, 1941 Sect 2 Gr. 4 Row B
George S. Pickett, Master
Sgt., Quartermaster Corps June 5,1948 Sect 2 G. 7 Row B
Mrs. Lilly Doyle (wife of
J.W. Doyle) Sect 1 Gr. 9 Row B
Mrs. Jennie C. Cosgrove (wife _of
J.W. Cosgrove) Sect 1 Gr. 10 Row B
Lucy Galvin (wife of
John Galvin) Sect 1 Gr. 2 Row C
Fred Galvin (son of John
J Galvin) Sect 1 Gr. 3 Row C
Nancy Kennedy (wife of
Jackson Kennedy Sect 1 Gr. 4 Row C
Laura Kennedy (daughter
of Jackson Kennedy) Sect 1 Gr. 5 Row C
T.A. King's infant childSect 1 Gr. 6 Row C
Joseph E. Mays (son of
John Mays) Sect 1 Gr. 7 Row C
Annie B. Ford (daughter of
Patrick J. Ford) Sect 1 Gr. 8 Row C
Charles D. Mays (son of
John Mays) Sect 1 Gr. 9 Row C
Infant of George LindseySect 3 Gr. 3 Row ?E
Tabitha Frey (wife of
William Frey) Sect 4 Gr. 6 Row B
"I know that my Redeemer liveth."
Helen Grace Nunn (infant daughter of Cpl.
Medie M. Nunn, Ordnance Dept.) June 5,1925 Sect 2 Gr. 10 Row C
Sarah Holden (wife of William
Holden) May 27, 1925 Sect 1 Gr. 11 Row C
Mary E. Hillegeist (wife of
Adolph Hillegeist) March 16,1927 Sect 2 Gr. 1 Row C
Velma Grace Harrison (child
of Pvt. Clyde A. Harrison)Nov.20, 1927 Sect 2 Gr. 1 Row B`
Mary Louise Luttringer (wife
of Retired Cpl. Luttringer) Sept.1, 1932 Sect 2 Gr. 3 Row B
Marion Singleton Smith, (wife
of retired Sgt. Smith) July 1,1933 Sect 4 Gr. 8 Row Ai
Mrs. Bertha Agnes Pickett ( wife
of Sgt. Geo. Pickett, QMC,
retired Augusta Arsenal; June 30,1926)Oct.26, 1937 Sect 2 Gr. 6 Row B
Mary Ann Berrong (daughter of
Sgt. Willard J. Berrong,
79th Ordnance Co.) Aug.29, 1941 Sect 2 Gr. 8 Row B
Mrs. Louise Kennedy Mays
(widow of Cpl. retired U.S. Ordnance) Nov.27, 1946 Sect 3 Gr. 5 Row A
Mrs. Bertha Kennedy Wittemer
(widow of Cpl. Louis Wittemer,
U.S. Ordnance) June 8,1949 Sect 3 Gr. 7 Row A
* "(Col.?)" = colored, or negro
Transcribed and web version by William R. Wells, II, Reese Library, 2000.