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Within this Collection:

Cemetery laborers

Stone Cutters


Dr. Augustin Biggs

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Antietam National Cemetery Payroll, 1866-1867

The Antietam National Cemetery was established to contain the remains of the Union dead from the nearby Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Washington County, Maryland. This book contains the financial accounts of the Cemetery during 1866 and 1867, when the wall around the cemetery was being constructed. These names appear to be those of the laborers who quarried the stone, crafted the capping coping stones and constructed the wall. Many of the same names are found in the Sharpsburg area today.

There is no identification in the book, but since the handwriting is identical to that used in Dr. Biggs’ Day Books and office ledgers, it is believed that he was the keeper of these records. Dr. Augustin A. Biggs was a Sharpsburg physician and the first President and Superintendent of the Antietam National Cemetery. His sons’ names appear many times as witnesses to the marks of the workers who could not write their names, as does that of his colleague Dr. Aaron Kretzer.

The History of Antietam National Cemetery: including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein together with the ceremonies and address on the occasion of the dedication of the grounds, September, 17th, 1867, also on this website, includes the following text about the construction of the cemetery:
For the accomplishment of as much work as possible with the limited means at the disposal of the Trustees, and to avoid the danger of improper expenditure of the funds in the hands of agents and contractors, who might have been interested only to the extent of their profits, it was determined to place the business and the general supervision of affairs in the hands of the President, Dr. A. A. BIGGS, who at the same time was appointed general superintendent, with instructions to proceed at once with the grading and the quarrying of the necessary stone for the walls, for the lime, and to arrange for the coping stone, and to perform all other acts towards the accomplishment of the duties imposed upon the Trustees as in his judgment he might deem necessary.

The Superintendent at once entered upon the discharge of his duties by employing a large force, principally honorably discharged Union soldiers, to open the quarries and prepare the stone for the wall, at the same time that a similar force was engaged in removing the surface stone from the Cemetery grounds, which being unfit for the wall or to be burnt into lime, was, however, valuable for the foundation and for filling the inside of the raised part of the wall.

Western Maryland Regional Library is grateful to Joseph Shealy and Mary Paget Shealy Langalis for making this material available. The ledger was part of a collection of original volumes and documents pertaining to the history of Washington County which had been collected by the late Dr. Walter Hal Shealy and his wife, Marie Baker Shealy, of Sharpsburg, Maryland and presented to the Western Maryland Room of the Washington County Free Library by their children.

The text was transcribed in 1995 by Rosamund Ann Ball, one of the many manuscripts from the Western Maryland Room she made more accessible to historians.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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