Veterans in Holy Rood Cemetery




Walking Tour of  U. S. Veteran Graves in Holy Rood Cemetery, by section and lot.




(49, 470)

John T. Griffin (1867-1927)

3rd U.S. Volunteer Engineers, Spanish-American War

(“Griffin,” Evening Star, March 17, 1927, p. 9)




(49, 491)

Sgt. Joseph Branzell (1875-1912)

23rd Infantry, Spanish-American War, Philippines

(“Will Be Buried Monday,” Evening Star, February 3, 1912, p. 4)




Private William H. Correll, Company H, 1st District of Columbia Infantry, died 1906 (section 52; photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(52, 488)

Pvt. William H. Correll (1871-1906)

1st DC Infantry, Spanish American War

(“Death of Wm. H. Correll,” Evening Star, April 16, 1906, p. 13)




(62, 3)

Andrew Daly (1847-1892)

Troop D, 4th Regiment, U.S. Cavalry

(“The Record of Deaths,” Evening Star, January 26, 1892, p. 6)




(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(44, 439)

Pvt. Thomas Burke (1842-1884)

2nd Massachusetts Infantry, Civil War

Born Ireland

(“Died,” Evening Star, May 10, 1884, p. 6)




Pvt. Peter McGirr, Company K, 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry (Birney's Zouaves), died 1899 (section 55; photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(55, 16)

Pvt. Peter McGirr (1841-1900)

23rd Pennsylvania Infantry (Birney’s Zouaves), Civil War

(“Death of Peter McGirr,” Evening Star, February 28, 1900, p. 9)




(55, 11, no stone)

Edward McGinnis (1874-1904)

Spanish-American War




James A. Collins, Company A, 47th U.S. Volunteer Infantry (Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(56, 11)

James A. Collins (1876-1905)

47th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, Spanish American War

(“Georgetown Affairs,” Evening Star, November 29, 1905, p. 7)




H. T. Crowley, Company L, 1st D.C. Infantry (Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(42, 417)

Nicholas T. Crowley (1875-1902)

1st D.C. Infantry, Spanish American War

“He accompanied the District regiment to Cuba, where it is thought he contracted the disease.”

(“Affairs In Georgetown,” Evening Star, June 19, 1902, p. 13)





(41, 400)

John Green (1778?-1850)

Paymaster, USN, War of 1812,

served aboard Commodore Decatur’s flagship in the Second Barbary War (1815).

He died at Rosedale on February 22, 1850, at the age of 72.




John J. Southey, Georgetown GAR, Born 1841, Canterbury, England, died April 1, 1916 (section 41)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(41, 429

John J. Southey (1841-1916)

Born Canterbury, England, “enlisted in a Massachusetts regiment during the civil war,

engaged in seven battles, was wounded in front of Petersburg,

and honorably discharged July 28, 1865.”

(“John Southey, War Veteran, Dies,” Evening Star, April 3, 1916, p. 13)




(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(41, 414)

Pvt. Francis Anthony O’Connor, USMC (died 1919)

“Suddenly, at Paris Island.”

(“Died,” Evening Star, March 6, 1919, p. 8)




Private J.L. O’Donoghue, 1st District of Columbia Infantry, Spanish-American War (section 40; photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(40, 451?)

Pvt. J. L. O’Donoghue

1st DC Infantry, Spanish-American War

(“High Commendation,” Evening Star, November 17, 1898, p. 7)




Private Joseph G. Ryan, Co. A, 3rd Infantry, District of Columbia National Guard, 37th Coastal Artillery, U.S. Army, 1877-1917 (or 1931) (section 38; photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(38, 394)

Pvt. Joseph G. Ryan (1877-1917)

37th Coastal Artillery, 3rd DC Infantry, Mexican Border

(“Joseph G. Ryan Dead,” Evening Star, May 14, 1917, p. 16)




Corporal Charles Carlin White, U.S. Army, World War II, 1907-1978 (section 37)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(37, 406)

Cpl. Charles Carlin White (1907-1978)


(“69 District Area Men Receive Discharges At Ft. Meade, Md.,” Evening Star, September 15, 1945, p. 3; “White, Charles Carlin,” Washington Star, September 20, 1978, p. 29)




Ignatius Belt, Navy?, 1824-1907 (section 26)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(26, 361)

Ignatius Belt (1824-1907)

“Before the civil war he served on the U. S. S. Fulton under Capt. Wilson.”

(“Final Rites,” Evening Star, July 29, 1907, p. 17)

“Four Generations at Holy Trinity: The Belt Family”




(courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(30, 306)

Pvt. Edward Green (died 1872)

Boyd’s Company, DC Infantry, Civil War

“Hibernian Benevolent Society of Georgetown, D. C.––The members will meet …to attend the funeral of our deceased Brother, Edward Green. His remains will be laid to Holywood [sic] Cemetery.”

(“Georgetown Advertisements,” Evening Star, April 6, 1872, p. 4)




(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(30, 306)

Pvt. Peter W. Farley

8th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Civil War

Died April 25, 1871, age 31

(Georgetown Courier, April 29, 1871)




Thomas Henry French, 1st Sergeant, Tenallytown Rifles, Captain, 10th U.S. Infantry, Wounded at Petersburg, 1864; 7th U.S. Cavalry, 1871-1880, died 1882 (section 23)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(23, 257)

Thomas Henry French (1843-1882)

1st Sergeant, Tenallytown Rifles; Captain, 10th U.S. Infantry,

wounded at Petersburg, 1864, Civil War;

7th U.S. Cavalry, Little Bighorn and Nez Perce Indian Campaigns.





John Moran, Company C, 8th U.S. Infantry (section 20?; photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(23, 263)

Pvt. John Moran

8th Infantry, Civil War

“in the 27th year of his age … protracted and painful illness … residence of his mother, No. 28 Bridge street.”

(“Died,” Evening Star, May 27, 1871, p. 3)




(23, 265)

George M. Drescher (1880-1907)

23rd Infantry, Spanish-American War

(“Funeral of George M. Drescher,” Sunday Star, March 3, 1907, p. 16)




(24, 3)

Patrick C. Meer,

2nd Infantry, Mexican War; 73rd Ohio Infantry, Civil War

“Rank, Sergeant. Entered service, October 11, 1861. Discharged Jan. 10, 1863, at Washington D.C., on Surgeon’s certificate of disability.”

(Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Vol. VI, Ohio Roster Commission, 1888)

Died July 29, 1865. Margaret Meer (sister-in-law?) filed letters of administration.

(“The Courts,” National Republican, Aug. 19, 1865, p. 3)




Robert Engelhardt, Company E, 1st DC Infantry (photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(20, 214)

Robert Engelhart (1846-1894)

Company E, 1st DC Infantry, Civil War




(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(22, 7)

Pvt. James Allen,

born 1836, County Kilkenny, Ireland, died December 21, 1870

Civil War


(19.5, 2, no stone)

Luke Welch (1877-1912)

3rd U.S. Volunteer Engineers, Spanish-American War

“Luke Welch, 35 years, Georgetown Hospital.”

(“Deaths Reported,” Evening Star, August 31, 1912, p. 8)




(19, 203)

Pvt. Daniel A. Scheele (1780-1859)

Immigrated from Germany circa 1800, listed 1813 in Captain Richard S. Briscoe’s Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, DC Militia.  Family tradition has him as a participant in the Battle of Bladensburg, War of 1812.

(Hines, Recollections p.79; index of War of 1812 veterans, National Archives)




Private Peter Kelley, Co. A, 2nd U.S. Infantry, died of wounds received at Bull Run, 1862 (section 18; photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(18, row 1)

Pvt. Peter Kelley

“Co. A, 2nd U.S. Infy.,

Born in Kings County, Ireland,

Died September 22, 1862,

from wounds received at the battle of Bull Run, Va. August 29, 1862,

Aged 42 years.

Erected by his dear wife,

Mary Kelley”




Winifred Kinnahan, U.S. Naval Reserve, World War I, died 1990 section 18)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(18, row 7)

Winifred Kinnahan (1901-1990)

Yeoman (Female),  Naval Reserve, WW I

“Winifred H. Kinnahan, DIA Employee,” Washington Post, June 13, 1990, p. D6




(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(13, 114)

Pvt. William P. Smith (1836-1885)

2nd US Infantry, Civil War

“Funeral … from his late residence, 1228 Lingan street, West Washington.”

(“Died,” Evening Star, March 31, 1885, p. 4)




(15, 124)        

Capt. Charles Henry Rodier, (died April 3, 1862)

1st DC Infantry, Civil War

Raised a Georgetown company for the defense of the Washington; the Anderson Rifles are thought to have taken the first rebel prisoners of the war near Chain Bridge in 1861. Rodier died after being shot in the leg accidentally. His widow could not afford a tombstone.




Edward A. Leasure, USN, Spanish-American War, died March 22, 1917

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(12, 79)

Edward A. Leasure (1867-1917)

USN, Spanish-American War

“Santiago Veteran Dead,” Washington Times, March 25, 1917, p. 4




Francis W. Hurley, blacksmith aboard U.S.S. Wilmington, died at Shanghai in 1902. The stone was erected by his shipmates. (Section 12)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(12, 80)

Francis W. Hurley (1870-1902)

Blacksmith, USN

“Died at Shanghai, China, Sept. 25, 1902. Erected by his shipmates, U.S.S. Wilmington.”

(“Died,” Evening Star, June 29, 1903, p. 5)




John W. Potter, 1839-1898,5th Sergeant, 1st District of Columbia Infantry (Boyd's Company) (section 12)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(12, 93)

John W. Potter (1839-1898)

5th Sergeant, Boyd’s Company, 1st DC Infantry, Civil War

(“Affairs In Georgetown,” Evening Star, July 9, 1898, p. 13)




Private Conrad Schwarz, District of Columbia Militia, War of 1812 (section 9; Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Walsh)

(9, 56)

Pvt. Conrad Schwarz (died 1863)

3rd Bn., 1st Legion, DC Militia, War of 1812

“To the memory of Conrad Schwarz of Greenwood, D.C.,

who died at an advanced age, January 19, 1863.”




(1, 1a)

Joseph Nevitt (1752-1834)

Maryland Minuteman, Revolutionary War





(Old Ground, no stone, )

Pvt. Joseph Sampson (died 1851)

“native of the City of Paris, France, now about 37 yrs. of age, being late a soldier in the service of the U.S.,” wrote his will 1851, while lying ill at the Georgetown poorhouse with a pulmonary ailment contracted 1840-1 in the Second Seminole War.

(Wesley E. Pippenger, District of Columbia Probate Records, 1801-1852)





Map of sections and lots in Holy Rood Cemetery




Sections and lots in Holy Rood Cemetery




Union Veterans in Holy Rood Cemetery

The largest category of military men buried in Holy Rood Cemetery is Union soldiers. In 1891 it was reported that there were forty. Since there were still many Union veterans alive at that time, the number can only have grown.  (Evening Star, May 30, 1891).

Unfortunately, only about a dozen of these can be identified today, mostly by the handful of government-issue grave markers scattered here and there in Holy Rood. A few have been identified by way of newspaper items, obituaries, and published lists of members of the Grand Army of the Republic. The GAR was the fraternal organization of Union veterans. Among the missions of a GAR posts was to make sure that every Union grave within their jurisdiction was remembered, and received its annual due in flowers and flags.

In Washington, in the waning years of the 19th century, the task of recording every local grave of every Union soldier was entrusted to a veteran named Richard Goodman, commander of the Charles Sumner Post of the GAR. As a result of his efforts, in fourteen cemeteries in and around Washington, even the most out-of-the way Union graves were annually honored. (It was Goodman who counted forty Union veterans at Holy Rood. It is possible that some of these forty might have been black; if so, Goodman would have known them, as he was a black Civil War veteran himself.)   (Evening Star, May 30, 1891)


Of many of these men, hardly anything is now known. Those who died during the war probably died in a local hospital. One epitaph in Holy Rood records how long it took one man to die:

Peter Kelley, Co. A, 2nd U.S. Infy., born in Kings County, Ireland, died September 22, 1862 from wounds received at the battle of Bull Run, Va. August 29, 1862, Aged 42 years. Erected by his dear wife, Mary Kelley.

Some were from Georgetown, and came home and resumed their civilian lives. Others, born elsewhere, settled here after the war. Whatever their origin, each year they gathered at the graves of their comrades-in-arms, until, one year, a Memorial Day dawned when all of them were in the ground.

One of the Union soldiers buried (somewhere) in Holy Rood Cemetery is Capt. Charles H. Rodier. Rodier raised a company of Georgetowners in 1861 to join in the defense of the Washington; near Chain Bridge the Anderson Rifles––named in honor of the hero of Fort Sumter––are said to have taken the first rebel prisoners of the war. Capt. Rodier died the following year, at age forty-three, after being shot in the leg accidentally. His widow could not afford a tombstone. (Captain Charles Henry Rodier, 1st District of Columbia Infantry, died April 3, 1862: section 15?)

A grave that is more readily identified is that of Thomas Henry French , who started the war as First Sergeant of the Tenallytown Rifles. In the 10th U.S. Infantry, French was wounded at Petersburg, and rose to the rank of Captain. After the war, he joined the 7th Cavalry, and went west. In the disaster on the Little Bighorn, Capt. French and his men fought a running battle four miles east of Custer’s Last Stand, and came away with their lives. French saw action again in the Nez Perces War, took to drink, and died at Ft. Leavenworth, at age thirty-nine. His remains were brought home by his Tenleytown relations.



Confederate Veterans Buried in Holy Rood Cemetery

The only evidence to date of a Confederate presence in Holy Rood comes through the efforts of a genealogist researching the Clements family of Georgetown.

In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Horace Clements of Georgetown enlisted for three months in the District of Columbia Militia, to defend Washington against a threatened Confederate attack. His older brothers Joseph and Andrew were part of that threat, having gone to Alexandria and joined a company made up of Confederate volunteers from the District of Columbia and Maryland.

All three brothers survived the war and returned to live in Georgetown.  Joseph was a tailor, Andrew a painter, and Horace a machinist. Horace’s three month service to the Union entitled him to end his days at the National Soldiers Home in Elizabeth City, Virginia; he is probably buried in a military cemetery there. His brothers Andrew and Joseph, who served on the Confederate side, lie buried in the family plot in Holy Rood Cemetery (Section 5, lot 36). (Obituary of Joseph E. Clements, The Evening Star, July 10, 1899;  obituary of Andrew J. Clements, The Evening Star, November 24, 1896)


(A valuable research resource is the Soldiers and Sailors Database of the National Park Service, containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Other information on the site includes histories of Union and Confederate regiments, links to descriptions of significant battles, and selected lists of prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records.)



Memorial Day Observances

For a half century or more after the Civil War, the members of GAR Post No. 19, the George U. Morris Post, on N Street in Georgetown, turned out on the morning of Memorial Day, and paraded to the two Georgetown cemeteries that contained the graves of Union veterans. One of these was Oak Hill, which was Protestant, and the other was Holy Rood, which was the Catholic cemetery of Georgetown.

The observances followed a prescribed order. A priest from Holy Trinity – who might, like Fathers Brennan and McAtee, have been a Union chaplain during the war – offered the prayers. There was a reading of the GAR Memorial Orders, which begin: “The 30th day of May is designated for the purpose o strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country in the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The cadets of Western High School presented a salute to the dead. The Gettysburg Address was recited. A quartet from the Georgetown University Glee Club might render “Tenting On The Old Camp Ground” “The Soldier and His Boy”, or “Rest, Soldier, Rest”. At the close of the exercises, school children brought baskets of flowers, the graves of Union soldiers were decorated with flags and flowers, and “Taps” floated out on the morning air. (Washington Star, May 28, 1896; Programs of Memorial Day Services in the District of Columbia from 1901 to 1918, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of the Potomac)

The original connection of Memorial Day to the Union dead of the Civil War is long-forgotten, as is the role of ordinary local men who served in the war. About three thousand men enlisted for three months to defend the city in 1861, and a thousand or so stayed on for the duration of the war. After the war the District was credited with furnishing upwards of 16,000 men. (GAR, Roster of Departments, 1888, p.54; Washington, Past and Present, vol.1, p.388)

(While the 1st District of Columbia Infantry Regiment was mainly employed in the defense of the capital, seven companies recruited in the District served elsewhere in the war, and under other state designations: the 3rd Maryland Infantry, 1st Maryland Cavalry, 11th New York Cavalry, 71st Pennsylvania Infantry, and the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, each had a company or more recruited in Washington.)





 Carlton Fletcher

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