Error of interment letter

Superintendent Davis to Col. R.N. Batchelder, July 16, 1884,[File], [393], National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.

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National Cemetery,
Alexandria VA
July 16 1884
Col. R. N. Batchelder
Dep’y Qr. Mr. General, U.S.A.

I have the honor to report that in the list of unmarked graves forwarded to your Office, July 10 1884 an error was made in copying by the omission of the following name. Grave No. 3255, Mrs. Dan(iel) E. Leach. Laundress, 19”Conn., died Sept. 10 1863.
I am, Colonel,

Very respectfully,
Your Obedient Servant.
J.V. Davis

  • Error of interment letter

Official Oversight

Women often worked for military units but were not considered members of the military. Although they were officially designated as laundresses within military structures, they fulfilled a variety of functions, including the duties of a nurse. During the Civil War, there were four washerwomen for each company of 100 soldiers and nursing became a formal profession. Despite their contributions in the Civil War, however, they were paid a fraction of what men earned and were not entitled to federal pensions as male veterans were afterwards. In the years immediately after the war, women received little or no official recognition from the federal government for their service in the war.


Examine the sources carefully and answer the questions below:

Who wrote this letter? Why would they have written it?
Why might D. E. Leach’s headstone be markedly different from the headstone of the typical Civil War soldier?