on September 18, 2006
No visit to Richmond would be complete without a stop at the Hollywood Cemetery. For a person who has a great sense of direction and even better instincts I had a heck of a time finding the entrance to this cemetery. There are almost no signs and there are several cemeteries, don’t say I didn’t warn you Once you find the entrance you will want to stop at the cemetery office and purchase a map. This is a big cemetery and without the map you could spend the whole day driving around. Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing but since we were on somewhat of a time schedule, we did my usual thing. Okay go past the office and take your first right onto Confederate Ave. The first grave we located was that of Major General George E. Pickett. He was a graduate of West Point in the same class as Thomas Jackson and George McClellan. He had the distinction of finishing in 59th place in a class of 59. He fought on the side of the Confederacy and was a major player in the battle of Gettysburg giving his name to "Pickett’s Charge". The monument that stands over his grave was intended for Gettysburg National Military Park but when it was not allowed to be placed there, Hollywood Cemetery became it’s home. Our next stop was the grave of JEB Stuart. I have always been fascinated by this son of the South. He was a graduate of West Point and also chose to fight for the Confederacy. There is something jaunty about him and his plumed hat that has always seemed special. He was a close friend of Stonewall Jackson and took over for him when he was mortally wounded. He was killed himself outside of Richmond in 1864 and buried here. You can see some of his finery at the Museum of the Confederacy.Three Presidents call Hollywood Cemetery their final resting place. Two of them James Monroe and John Tyler are Presidents of the United States. Jefferson Davis was the only President of the Confederacy. In keeping with their separation in life they are quite far apart in death as well. I was especially interested in seeing the Monroe’s monuments. James and his wife Elizabeth are both here and John Tyler is close by. The Monroe graves are covered by a cast iron monument. Nicknamed "The Birdcage" it is beautiful and certainly unique.Jefferson Davis gets the primo spot here and it isn’t hard to find because there is a large statue of the man right near his grave. Several other things to look for are the cast iron dog, the Confederate pyramid, in honor of the over 18,000 Confederate dead buried here and the Ginter tomb. There is also a very nice view of Greater Richmond and the James River. By the way this is an active cemetery and you can buy yourself a place in history.
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