1906, by President Roosevelt. Upon the death of Colonel Elliott, the President appointed as Commissioner in his stead, former Governor William C. Oates, of Alabama.
Governor Oates died last October, and since that time former Senator James H. Berry, of Arkansas, has been in charge of the work. In executing the law, General Oates and General Berry have found in several places, among them Point Lookout, that the remains of Confederates had been removed from the places of original burial, and in the re-interment the identity of the remains had been lost, making it difficult to erect separate headstones.
This was true of the 4,400 Confederates buried under a mound in Oakwood Cemetery, Chicago. An elaborate monument has been erected there by their surviving comrades, who have formed an association to look after the place of sepulture. This association protested against the plan of the government to place a large number of small white headstones in rows.
A somewhat similar condition was presented to General Berry, at Point Lookout, Md., which is at the southern extremity of the peninsula separating the Potomac River from Chesapeake Bay. A large prison camp was maintained there during the war, and many Confederate soldiers and some sailors died there. A prison cemetery was established near the camp, where 3,384 were buried. After the close of the war, about the year 1874, a small tract of land was acquired by the State of Maryland, at some distance from original place of interment. There the remains of the Confederate dead were re-interred collectively and a small monument was built to their memory. The work was done under the supervision of the late Captain George Thomas, C. S. A., of St. Mary's County, Md.
The transfer of the remains was carried on under such conditions that General Berry believes it practically impossible to erect the small marble tablets with any assurance that they would indicate the final resting places of the Confederates in whose memory they were to be erected.
In a letter received December 15th by Senator Warren, of Missouri, from Secretary of War Dickinson, the statement is made that in view of the uncertainty of identification the proper