Historic Markers Across Georgia

Rose Hill Cemetery

Marker ID:  
Location: 1071 Riverside Drive, Macon, GA
County: Bibb
Coordinates: N 32° 50.813    W 083° 37.856
  32.84688333    -83.63093333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Rose Hill Cemetery
"Recollection in a bouquet of yesterday"

Rose Hill Cemetery opened in May of 1840, twenty one years before the first casualties of the Civil War. Seven Macon soldiers were killed in the battle at Pensacola, Fl., in the first year of the war 1861. Four were brought to Macon and buried in the first row of what is known as 'Soldiers' Square' in Rose Hill. A thousand people attended the funerals. One witness wrote, "The funeral wagon was decorated with flowers, they being white mostly, and loops of crape, and that drawn by six horses with a small Confederate flag attached to their head, each man, according to military law, after being shrouded was wrapped in a flag. I never witnessed such a scene."

Macon became a center for Confederate hospitals during the war, eventually becoming second only to Richmond, Va. in numbers of wounded. In April 1866, the Macon Ladies Memorial Association organized the reinternment of hundreds of soldiers who were buried near Macon's hospitals into Rose Hill and the Old City Cemetery on Seventh Street. On Thursday, April 26, 1866, the graves were decorated with flowers, and a memorial service was observed. Confederate memorial Day continues to be observed annually at 'Soldiers' Square' in Rose Hill.

Many Macon officers killed in battles across the South were brought home and buried in Rose Hill. Unfortunately, most of Middle Georgia's hundreds of enlisted soldiers who died during the war were buried in unmarked graves upon battlefields and near hospitals and northern prisoner of war camps.

Maconites were infuriated by occupying Union soldiers desecration of Rose Hill. The Macon Telegraph noted, "The cemetery is visited every day by mourners and others, and on no time on Sabbath afternoons. …these lakes are the resort of soldiers. The river is near enough, and secluded enough for bathing."

In regular walks to Rose Hill, Nathan Munroe visited the graves of his wife and grandchildren in the fall of 1865. He was happy to see that there was no longer an encampment of Federal troops near the cemetery. He wrote to his daughter Bannie that "he found all quiet and good order," and sent her a flower from the graves of her two children.

Visiting Macon a couple of years after the war, American writer Bret Harte was sobered by his carriage drive through Rose Hill. The tombs were "ivy shrouded, and black with age, but always showing some sign of recollection in a bouquet of yesterday or an attempt to restore the half-concealed inscription." The cemetery was "the burial place of the Confederate dead of Macon; a thousand on the hillside, each name recorded on the little headboard," Confederate veterans were also buried in Paid Advertisement
Rose Hill on private lots. There are 882 known burials on these lots, plus the 884 in 'Soldiers' Square', bringing the total of known Confederate soldiers in Rose Hill to 1,746.
Erected 2013 by Macon Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.