[The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy stuff after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.]
How to Identify US Veterans’ Graves
Today I’ll show you how to quickly identify 3 different types of official American military markers for soldier’s gravesites. To see more examples and learn some surprising history, check out the video I made, too:
Here’s a video for Identifying US Veterans Graves:
#1 Civil War Type Markers
The first official US military headstone is commonly called the Civil War Type because it came into use in 1873, shortly after the Civil War. It was subsequently used to mark the graves of soldiers who fought in other wars, too, including the Mexican War, Spanish American War, War of 1812, and even the American Revolution.
#2 Confederate Type Markers
Civil War markers were NOT awarded to those who fought for the Confederacy, however. In 1906, the government issued a special marble marker specifically for those who fought for the South. The emblem at the top of this stone is called a Southern Cross of Honor and/or Confederate Cross of Honor. (To learn more about that, check out my video!)
#3 General Type Markers
Shortly after World War I, a new style of US military marker was developed. It’s called the General Type because the committee which created it contained two generals: Gen. Pershing and Gen. Rogers.
For more details about all 3 of these official military markers as well as some rather surprising history, make sure you watch my YouTube video: How to Identify US Veterans’ Graves.
Side by Side Comparison of the 3 Official Markers
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the different types of US military grave markers. As you can see, there’s a shield on the Civil War type, the Confederate type comes to a point, and the General Type lacks the shield, is rounded, and has space for a religious emblem of belief.
Flat marble military markers
Since many modern cemeteries do not allow standing monuments, the US War Department has also created flat markers, such as the marble one you see below:
Flat bronze military markers
Bronze markers are also available in this style, as well. Here’s an example of that:
Official markers are not mandatory
While the US Veterans Administration will provide official markers for military personnel free of charge, soldiers are not required to use them. To see some unique examples of military gravesites that I’ve seen during my travels, check out my video: How to Identify Veterans’ Graves.
READ MY BOOK: If you enjoy historic cemeteries and want to learn more, check out my books: Understanding Cemetery Symbols and Grave Goods. They’re available on Amazon in paperback and ebook form.
Learn more at my YouTube Channel:
Do you have questions about headstone symbols? Drop by my YouTube channel and let me take you one some virtual cemetery tours! You can also tune in to my 30-minute historic cemetery podcast on the first Tuesday of each month: Tombstone Tuesday with Tui Snider.
READ MY BOOK: If you enjoy historic cemeteries and want to learn more, check out my book: Understanding Cemetery Symbols. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and ebook form.