No Longer ‘Known But To God’
By Joe Kirby
(July 2010 Civil War News)
Brad Quinlin researches the identities of unknown soldiers buried in Marietta National Cemetery. (Courtesy Marietta Daily Journal)
MARIETTA, Ga. — Marietta National Cemetery is the final resting place for 10,312 Union casualties of the Civil War, 3,048 of them buried as “unknowns.” Now 16 of those men, whose identities were “known but to God,” have been identified thanks to local Civil War historian and researcher Brad Quinlin.
Quinlin said his identifications are “not guesswork — this is all from documentation.”
Over the past nine years he has used such information as where the soldiers were originally buried, where their units were from day to day, and rosters of the dead from each regiment in Sherman’s army to extrapolate the identities of the unknowns.
Even more important are records kept by the U.S. Army just after the war as it exhumed remains from the Northwest Georgia battlefields and hospitals where they had fallen and been hastily buried. Their remains then were transported to a spacious new military cemetery on 23 acres donated for that purpose by Henry Cole on a hilltop due east of downtown Marietta.