Six stones in Goodland Cemetery read “Unknown U.S. Soldier”. Goodland is far away from any Civil War battlefield.
How did these six soldiers come to Goodland? Did battle wounds or disease claim them? No one seems to know. Who they were, where and how they died is a mystery.
In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln honored those soldiers who had given “the last full measure of devotion.” What more could a man give than his very identity?
Unknown soldiers in the Civil War
Anonymous dead soldiers were all too common in the Civil War. Poor record-keeping, the chaos of battle and the lack of proper identification devices limited the ability of burial details to identify the dead.
And why so far from any Civil War battlefield? Perhaps the unknown soldiers were Galvanized Yankees, Confederate prisoners of war who agreed to join the Union Army in exchange for their release. The Galvanized Yankees were sent West to patrol the frontier.
The mystery remains.
Goodland Cemetery is on North Main. The unknown soldiers are buried near the cemetery chapel Site 1, Block 9. Sherman County’s sole black Civil War veteran is buried between the unknowns. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.