The Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery

Sullivant Avenue, Camp Chase, Columbus, OH

The Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery contains the bodies of Confederate soldiers who died while imprisoned in the Camp Chase Confederate prison. Most died of a smallpox epidemic that swept the prison during 1863. Poor prison conditions - including overcrowding that necessitated housing two soldiers per bunk - aided the spread of the epidemic, which killed 499 in the month of February alone.

The prison and training grounds were razed after the war's end, but the cemetery remained. When William Knauss discovered the cemetery in 1895, it was little more than a patch of land overgrown with weeds and wild grass, contained within a stone wall. The graves themselves were only marked with headboards constructed from the wood of the former prison buildings. Knauss himself was a Union Colonel, who had been left for dead on the battlefield of Fredericksburg. After discovering the cemetery, he would devote the rest of his life to preserving the memory and honor of his enemies. He initiated memorial services that would eventually draw crowds in the thousands. He sponsored keynote speakers of great significance, including judges, Mayors, and Governors of Ohio. These memorial services continue even today, held on the Sunday nearest to Confederate President, Jefferson Davis's Birthday (June 3). In 1995, Camp Chase celebrated its 100th anniversary memorial service.

To learn more about The Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, consider its historical and current audience and its attempt at healing the division created by the Civil War.
SC, May 1998

The Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery

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