The “Cockade Monument” in Blandford Cemetery, 319 South Crater Road in Petersburg, Virginia, is dedicated to Capt. Richard McRae (1787-1854), commander of the Petersburg Volunteers during the War of 1812. The Volunteers fought on the Canadian frontier and helped defend Fort Meigs. They conducted a sortie against a British battery on May 5, 1813, but Capt. McRae, who was sick, did not participate. The Volunteers wore distinctive red, white, and blue ribbons, or cockades, on their hats, leading President James Madison to call Petersburg the “Cockade City”.
Monument to Maj. Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield (1831-1901) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. A native New Yorker, Daniel Butterfield’s father had founded the company that became American Express. He had no military experience prior to the American Civil War, but rose from the rank of captain to major general, and even won the Medal of Honor in 1862.
Butterfield was a talented organizer. He wrote an Army field manual, introduced the use of patches to distinguish between Union Army corps, and is credited with composing the bugle call “Taps”. He later transferred to the Western Theater. After the war, he served as Assistant Treasurer of the United States, but was forced to resign for taking part in a scheme to manipulate gold prices.
Almost untouchable in life, today anyone can visit the final resting places of these wealthy and powerful figures.
America’s cemeteries are filled with rich and poor alike. In life, these wealthy industrialists were among the most powerful men alive. Yet today, their sometimes humble monuments can be found scattered among a sea of granite stones. A name and date carved into stone tells so little about the incredible lives they must have lived. Here are a few of their stories.
Monument to George Mortimer Pullman (1831-1897) in Graceland Cemetery, at 4001 N. Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois, the city’s premier burial ground. George Pullman invented the Pullman sleeping car. He’s perhaps best well-known for the town he created for his factory workers in Illinois. When his workers went on strike in 1894, President Grover Cleveland intervened and sent several thousand troops to Chicago to break the strike. The violence left 30 dead. Pullman died in 1897 and he is buried in a lead-lined coffin sealed in cement to prevent desecration.
Monument to British Maj. Gen. William Phillips (1731-1781) in Blandford Cemetery, 319 South Crater Road in Petersburg, Virginia. Phillips was an officer in the Royal Artillery and fought in the Seven Years’ War, and later in the American Revolutionary War on the British side. During the recapture of Fort Ticonderoga in Upstate New York, when his peers objected to hauling artillery up the nearby mountain, he famously replied: “Where a goat can go, a man can go. And where a man can go, he can drag a gun.” Thomas Jefferson called him “the proudest man of the proudest nation on earth.” He contracted typhus or malaria after the Battle of Blandford and died in Petersburg. He is buried somewhere in the Blandford Churchyard.
Statue over the grave of Maj. Gen. Joseph Warren (1741-1775) in Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Joseph Warren was a physician, Free Mason, and Patriot who served as President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress prior to the Revolutionary War. He dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn of the British approach, and he died fighting as a private soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Monument to Maj. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (1836-1881) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. H. Judson Kilpatrick was a controversial cavalry commander in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War, earning the nickname “Kill-Cavalry” for his aggressive style. Kilpatrick was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from West Point in 1861. He came to prominence during the Gettysburg Campaign and was later transferred to the Western Theater owing to his controversial behavior. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said of him:
Maj. Gen. William Mahone (1826-1895), born in Southampton County, Virginia, fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and was later a U.S. Senator from 1881 to 1887. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and was a railroad engineer before the war. During the war, he rose from colonel of a regiment to division commander and was present with General Robert E. Lee at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the war, he was elected Mayor of Petersburg and became a leader in the Readjuster Party, a bi-racial coalition against the wealthy planter class in Virginia. He is buried in Blandford Cemetery, 319 South Crater Road in Petersburg, Virginia.