Greetings Cosmic Americans!
Whenever I am in Richmond, Virginia I stop by the Hollywood Cemetery. For a Civil War historian - it is a must visit. There are all sorts of important people buried there including Jefferson Davis, JEB Stuart, and George Pickett to name just a few. Also, the enormous stone pyramid towering above the re-interred Confederate dead from Gettysburg is another must check out - especially if you are interested in Civil War commemoration. The back story to this one is fascinating and worthy of a post of its own.
But if you are not paying attention you might very well miss a rather unimposing marker - one that sheds light on a significant Civil War tragedy. This small stone marks the final resting place for three out of four of General James Longstreet's children.
Early in 1862, a scarlet fever epidemic hit Richmond. James, Augustus Baldwin, and Mary Anne, who had recently moved from Texas, all succumbed to the disease within a few days. They were survived by their mother and the Longstreet's fourth child, Garland.
General Longstreet was devastated by the loss - his comrades noted his grief and his permanent change in personality. Longstreet briefly left the army to be with his wife and remaining child - but was too grief stricken to make any funeral arrangements. That was planned by Longstreet's friend, general George Pickett and his fiance LaSalle Corbett.
I took this picture in May 2007 when I sort of accidentally stumbled upon it. I asked around and it turned out that the headstone had only recently been righted after falling over decades before and becoming overgrown with ivy.
This is a tragic story among thousands of other tragic stories during the war - but one worth knowing.