Posted By:Rick Bryant
Subject:Re: Thomas Donaldson, Wisconsin 28th Regiment
Post Date:February 05, 2013 at 13:43:48
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Forum:Civil War Forum
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I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question. However, I will try to give you an educated opinion as to the final disposition of his remains. Although families at times would go to great lengths to reclaim the remains of loved ones, it was difficult and expensive to do so, and only a small percentage were returned to their homes for burial or reburial. It is likely that Thomas was buried on the shore of the river or near the boat's final destination. At the time, a wooden marker was probably placed on his grave. After the war, a massive effort was made by the Federal government to locate the remains of as many Union soldiers as possible and re-inter them in national cemeteries. Over 300,000 were found and taken to said cemeteries, but only 54% were identified. Most soldiers carried no personal identification, and markers were removed or deteriorated in many instances making identification impossible. There is a good possibility that his remains were recovered after the war. Given the location of his death, I would think it likely that he was re-interred in the Memphis National Cemetery. According to their web-site, Memphis has the second largest group of unknowns of any national cemetery. I think the chances are great that he lies there in a carefully tended grave in a place of honor.