Chalmette Cemetery, Louisiana

Day 312

    Chalmette National Cemetery is a 17.5 acre strip of land that sits adjacent to the site of the Battle of New Orleans along the Mississippi River in Chalmette, Louisiana. The cemetery was established in May of 1864 as a final resting place for Civil War dead, both Confederate and Union soldiers alike.

     Approximately 132 Confederate prisoners of war were buried at Chalmette until the Ladies’ Benevolent Association of New Orleans requested that these soldiers be moved out of Chalmette, leaving only Union Soldiers. Later, American soldiers of later wars were added. 

     The most unique grave is this one:

     Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was born January 16, 1843, in Bainbridge, New York. She was the oldest of nine children in the farming family. Wakeman understood the tremendous financial pressure her family was under, and without possible suitors to take on her expenses, Wakeman left her home as a man in 1862 and went to work as a boatman for the Chenango Canal.

     While on her job, she met an army recruiter offering a $152 bounty and enlisted on August 30, 1862, using the male name Lyons Wakeman. The bounty was incredible motivation for Wakeman to enlist, being far more than what she could earn as a woman. Wakeman enlisted as a private of Company H of the 153rd Regiment. She saw battle at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana as part of the Red River Campaign which comprised a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana from March 10 to May 22, 1864. She survived the battle but contracted chronic diarrhea of which she eventually died on June 19, 1864. She was buried here with full military honors. 

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