Several years ago a gentleman named David McDonald from Georgia asked this site for help in finding his ancestor. Marlitta Perkins also ask for help regarding the search. A few weeks ago in a little less than 140 later some answers have been found.
I then offer this for your consideration:
According to the OR's Series 2, Volume 7, pages 1161-1162 this is what happened at Camp Chase on Thanksgiving Day (Nov.24,1864)
"On the night of the 24th instant the bodies of six deceased prisoners were stolen from the grave-yard attached to camp where prisoners only are buried. I arrested the perpetrators of this outrage and referred the matter to General Hooker and was by him directed to turn the prisoners and papers over to the prosecuting attorney of this county, which I have done. Respectfully referred to the Commissary-General of Prisoners." W.P. Richardson
And on November 30th 1864 the Columbus based weekly newspaper the "Crisis" confirmed the macabre event.
"It has been discovered that an organized band of body snatchers, resurrectionists, exists in this city, whose practice it is to rob the graves at Camp Chase of dead bodies which are shipped to the medical college at Cleveland for dissection. Dr. Flowers of this city is said to the leader in this business, and he was arrested in company with one or two less respectable assistants, last week , by the Post Commander at Camp Chase. The parties were discharged upon their parole, to appear at such time as the military authorities designate. There is a State law by which the robbing of graves is pronounced a high crime punishable by imprisonment in the Penitentiary. It is understood that twelve bodies bodies were exhumed last week. Dr. Flowers excuses has action on the ground that "subjects were needed at the Cleveland Medical College and that the bodies were those of rebels,who were fit for nothing but dissection!"
And then the "Columbus Gazette" yet again confirmed the story with a little different version.
"Considerable talk has been occasioned in this city this week, by the arrest, by the Military authorities at Camp Chase, of sundry persons from this city and Cleveland, Ohio, who had been engaged in digging up bodies of deceased rebels from the grave yard in that vicinity. This was done for the purpose of procuring subjects for the Cleveland Medical College. It is alledged that about a dozen bodies have been thus procured. The parties were released on their parole to appear at such time as the Military authorities shall desigate. At the time of the arrest, it is stated, Dr. Flowers, of this city, was along with the parties arrested; but it is claimed that he had no connection with the matter further than to show the location of the burying ground. So great is the repugnance of the community to body snatching, that few will be fouind ready to justify the invasion of even a rebel's grave. Our Military authorities should see to it that the practice is stopped."
And another Columbus newspaper verified the story this time the "Ohio Statesman"
"It seems that a systematic exhuming of the dead bodies of rebel prisoners buried at Camp Chase, has been going on for some time past, in order to supply a Medical College at Cleveland with subjects for dissection. An agent of the College from Cleveland it is said has been in the city for some time, engaged in forwarding this business, through the aid of such persons as he could enlist in the service. Amoung others, Dr. Flowers of this city, is charged with being a principal actor in the affair. The Doctor, we understand, was arrested on Friday night by the military authorities, and taken to Camp Chase, and released on giving bail for his appearance on a future day."
Other newspapers have been found including "Der Westbote" which was a German weekly Columbus based newspaper.
"Die hiesigen Militär Behörden haben die Entdeckung gemacht, das ein sogenanntes "Medical College" in Cleveland sich schon seit langer Zeit ein Geschäft daraus gemacht hat, die todten Rebellen Gefangenen, die in Camp Chase begraben wurden, stehlen zu lassen. Ein Agent befand sich hier, um die Leichen nach Cleveland zu befördern und verschiedene Personen in Columbus sollen in seinem Dienste gestanden haben, darunter Dr. Flowers, der am Freitag Abend verhaftet, nach Camp Chase transportiert, aber vorläufig gegen Bürgschaft entlassen wurde.
12 Leichen wurden letzte Woche ausgegraben; als Entschuldigung wurde von dem Verhafteten angegeben, das die mediz. Schule in Cleveland Leichen brauche and das die todten Rebellen ja doch zu nichts weiter taugen!"
And translated into English.................. it says
"The local military authorities have made the discovery that a so-called "Medical College" in Cleveland has made it its business for quite some time to have the dead rebels stolen, who were buried in Camp Chase.
An agent of the institution was here to transport the bodies to Cleveland and various persons in Columbus are supposed to have been in his service, among them Dr. Flowers, who was arrested Friday night, transported to Camp Chase, but released from arrest on bail.
12 bodies were dug up last week; the excuse given by the arrested was that the medical school in Cleveland needs bodies and that the dead rebels aren't good for anything else!"
The soldiers bodies who were stolen were as follows:
1) Hiram Bland from Bullock County Georgia
2) Thomas J. Stephens from Caddo Parish Louisiana
3) Jonathan Lindley from Cobb County Georgia
4) A.J. Hensley from Virginia
5) John W. Lester from Tennessee
6) It is my opinion that the sixth body disinterred that night was Curtis Hooks from Georgia. It is my opinion that this body was caught with Dr. Joab R. Flowers as the grave in now in Row 4 of the Camp Chase Cemetery instead of the Row 15 in which it was interred at on November 24.
The above five Confederate soldiers bodies were taken to Cleveland to be dissected. Their tombstones are also missing at Camp Chase as well as their bodies! Hopefully next May the SCV will be able to have tombstones put up at Camp Chase for the first time in 140 years.
I have since aquired the micro-film records of Chase through NARA. If anyone would like to know what a soldier at Camp Chase died of, I can tell you. As well as date of death/rank/where captured/date interred etc.
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