how about this

A blog of Nineteenth Century history, focusing, but not exclusively, on the American Civil War seen through the prism of personal accounts, newspaper stories, administrative records and global history.
A thousand tales. A miscellany. A maze of historical tangents.

A Capitol View

A Capitol View
Images of 1861 juxtaposed- Union Square, New York vs. Capitol Square, Richmond

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day- Cold Harbor National Cemetery

The first part of this post was originally put up January of this year.

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel James M. Moore, Assistant Quartermaster U.S.A. has been informed that the National Cemetery at Cold Harbor Virginia, was completed on the 1st of May, and dedicated by a formal raising of the stars and stripes on the staff in the centre of the ground, and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by those present. This cemetery is situated on the Cold Harbor road, on the farm of Mrs. SLAUGHTER, and about a half mile from the old Cold Harbor house. It is 234 feet in length by 220 feet in width, and contains one and one sixth acres. The total number of bodies interred is 1,930; 50 commissioned officers, 1 chaplain, 89 non-commissioned officers, and 545 privates, beside 1,245 remains not yet identified. Through the efforts of Colonel MOORE, and tho skillful corps of workmen under his direction, the names, rank, and regiment of 635 of the men buried at Cold Harbor are known and a record of them kept at Colonel Moore's office for reference.

-Army and Navy Journal, May 12, 1866

The only Medal of Honor recipient buried at Cold Harbor Cemetery is Augustus Barry who died August 3, 1871. At the time he was the Superintendent of the cemetery. There is not a lot of information on Barry,  however a few things can be pieced together from his military record. An Irish immigrant he was 23 when he enlisted on  January 10, 1863, listing his occupation as carpenter. He served in the Regular army,  first in company C and then A of the 16th United States Infantry. He was discharged December 15, 1867 as a Sergeant-Major having received appointment as Superintendent of the "National Cemetery at Macon, Georgia." His Medal of Honor citation only speaks of "Gallantry in various actions during the rebellion," which is not terribly descriptive.
The National Cemetery in Macon county is the Andersonville National Cemetery.


  1. Mr. McPhail,

    I thank you for your post about Augustus Barry. I was out on the Cold Harbor battlefield on June 3rd to remember those we lost 150 years ago. Before I left I walked over to the National Cemetery to say a little prayer and on my way out the gate I saw Augustus Barry's marker. Two things that throw me for a loop when I saw the marker. The 16th regiment and the date. The 16th regiment fought out west and was not anywhere near Cold Harbor. The marker has only one date and that is 1871. Thank you for your information on SGM Barry, it may seem like not much but it answers two valuable questions. I am trying to find out more about the details of his medal of honor. Like you said, very vague. In fact he is not even on the roster of MOH recipients for the 16th regiment. I served in the 9th and 17th regiments from 1993 -1996 and am always interested in the "Regulars" from both theatres of the Civil War. I am going to try and unluck the mystery here and if you anything else about Barry and would not mind sharing it with me I would be indebted to you. Ever since I saw this marker I have been trying to learn more about him. My e-mail Thanks Craig I never check my google e-mail anymore so I may not see your reply.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Glad to have been of service

    K.S. McPhail