From the Richmond Dispatch, 5/10/1869, p. 1, c. 4
THE CONFEDERATE DEAD UNEARTHED – TWENTY ACRES OF HUMAN BONES. – While our ladies are mounding and decorating the graves in Oakwood, and while the massive stone monument to the memory of those who lie in Hollywood is gradually approaching completion, it is distressing to hear of the neglect of the bones of those who are buried where they fell – on the hillsides and in the valleys in other parts of the State. The reports that reach us of the sacrilegious conduct of many Virginia farmers are so shocking that we hesitate to give them credence, although our duty as journalists requires us to lay them before our readers.
A few weeks ago we published an account of the state of affairs at Fort Harrison, which subsequent investigation proved too true. Now comes a most harrowing story from Malvern Hill, where so many of our best and bravest with their last drops of blood sealed their devotion to the southern cause.
A correspondent of a northern papers says that on the northwest side of the fort a most terrible scene presents itself. Thousands of Confederate soldiers having been buried where they fell, twenty acres or more have just been plowed up by the owner of the field, and the plowshare turned to the surface all the skeletons. Over the whole tract the bones are strewn in profusion, and grinning skulls stare the visitors in the face on every hand.
When the farmer was questioned, he said the land was now the richest piece he had, and, in justification of the sacrilegious act, stated that “he didn’t put ‘em there nohow.” The writer learned afterward that the bones had been taken away by the cart-load and sold to fertilizing mills in Richmond. Two humane men, too poor to do anything else, came one day we were there and attempted to burn some of the bones to prevent the wretches from carting them off.