The reburial operation took place between April and June 1866. 1,481 bodies were reinterred in McGavock Cemetery. The cemetery has always stayed in private hands since 1866. It is the largest privately-owned military cemetery in the United States. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Chapter 14, maintain the cemetery today.
There were 225 soldiers placed in an Unknown section—pictured right. Not even their state identity was even known.
Another 333 unknowns are spread out in state sections throughout the cemetery, their state identity having been known, but not their names. So of the total of 1,481 Confederate soldiers buried here, 780 are identified positively. Another 143 graves have some sort of identification, genuine or otherwise.
The cemetery layout is simple. Ten of the eleven Confederate States are represented at McGavock. Only Virginia is not. There are also two neutral States: Kentucky and Missouri. The entire cemetery can be leisurely walked in 20-30 minutes. Budget 30-45 minutes if you have this guidebook with you.
The cemetery is basically divided down the middle by a fourteen foot walking path. The cemetery lays facing east-west. The entrance is on the far west side.
Walking in, one will see the first section to the left dedicated to the states of Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina. These states had the fewest casualties: Florida 4, Kentucky 5, and NC had 2.
The next section, on the left, is the Unknown section. There are 225 men buried here. There is just one large marker to honor the unknown dead. The flag pole is also in this section.
Continuing down to the left side one will then find the following state sections, the number buried is indicated to the right.
Once you get into these sections, with individual plots, each row has 15 granite markers corresponding to a given soldier.
The markers are well-worn but originally had the initials of the soldiers engraved on the top, as well as the plot number for that section. Many of the markers today are unreadable, thus it can be difficult to locate a given marker without a little patience and knowledge of how the cemetery is laid out.
As you make your way down the entire left— north side – of the cemetery you will end in the Tennessee section. Cross over to the south side now, where the Texas section begins.
Now, working your way back to the front of the cemetery, you will run into these state sections as you walk back toward the west:
Mississippi has more young men -424- buried at McGavock than any other state. The number of Mississippi boys reflect the brutal cost paid by Loring’s Division as it absorbed Union artillery shelling on the far left Union flank. The 31st MS has the highest number of known men buried at McGavock— twenty-one men.