Military Grave Markers

Headstone of WWI veteran, George T. Sims (1895-1969)Here are three examples of standard upright marble VA military grave markers that you might find in national or private cemeteries. These measure approximately 42″ x 13″ x 3″. Some of the newer ones are made of granite. Many have an optional religious symbol at the top of the marker (like the cross in the example at right). For a list of these see the Veterans Affairs website: Emblems of Belief on Government Headstones and Markers.

The two examples below are for pre-World War I grave markers. On the left is the headstone for the infamous cannibal, Alfred Packer, who was a Union Civil War veteran. On the right is one for a Spanish American War veteran. Note the way the name and regiment are enclosed in a shield on both of these markers – this was used for Union Civil War and Spanish American War soldiers. Some Confederate Civil War veterans have a symbol of the Southern Cross of Honor on their grave markers.

For help finding military records and indexes online see: Military Records and Indexes on the Internet, which includes some listings for Civil War cemetery burials.

Photos: Alfred Packer’s grave marker is from Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado; the other two are from Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.

Gravemarker for Civil War veteran, Alfred PackerGrave marker for Spanish American War veteran, Charley W. McHugh (1874-1954)

4 Responses to Military Grave Markers

  1. onlycrook says:

    This is a great idea for a blog, especially because you have Colorado information. I lead cemetery tours in my town for third graders (this will be my 6th year), and even though I’ve done a bit of research on symbols, it seems that there’s always one each year that I wasn’t aware of. This will really help. Thanks.

  2. joe says:

    Thanks, JL. It’s good to know there’s some interest out there for this. I’m just having fun with all of it. Happy blogging.

  3. Also, Union stones are rounded on top while the Confederate stones are pointed.


  4. Richard says:

    Why do some crosses have a circle around them and others don’t?

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