Fort Stevens Post Cemetery

Warrenton, Clatsop, Oregon, United States

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Cemetery Information

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Number of Images

248

Number of Headstone Records

252

Number of Supporting Records

152

Description

Fort Stevens Post Cemetery was established in May of 1868. On 22 June 1866 the Acting Assistant Quartermaster for Fort Stevens recommended to the Quartermaster General that a cemetery be prepared in case someone should die. The nearest burying grounds, he said, were at Astoria, eight miles from the post and at Clatsop Plains, a distance of seven miles. The first military death at Fort Stevens was in 1868. However, there are buried here 50 known remains that were moved from Fort Canby, so you will find headstones that indicate deaths earlier than 1868. The earliest burial was that of Private August Stahlberger, Battery C, 2nd U. S. Artillery. His death was first listed as falling in the river and drowning while "under the influence." A reputation for heavy drinking was attributed to this post due to its being an isolated tour of duty. The causes of death are myriad at Fort Stevens, but some, like Private Stahlberger, add mystery to the local tales, since his official listing was "death caused by blows from a person or persons unknown." Stones marked "unknown" are from drowning at sea. The bodies were washed ashore near Fort Stevens. The first Fort Stevens Post Cemetery, was located about a quarter of a mile to the south of the post, on the edge of a road leading out of the garrison. It was in the region of the sand pit and the building area. By today's landmarks, it was approximately between the east side officer's quarters and the east "barracks", now used as a school building. Captain Fisk on August 1898 told the Adjutant General, Department of The Columbia, Vancouver Barracks., Washington: "There is a small cemetery plot at Fort Stevens located on a sand ridge from which it is desired to obtain sand for parapet fill for additional gun emplacements to be begun shortly...I think it should be moved anyway in case a new post is built and if not permitted to use the sand the cost of work...will be materially increased." A short time later the Quartermaster, 2nd Lieutenant Edward O. Sarrat, 3rd Artillery, reported,"The present cemetery is small and very near the contemplated site of the new post. A new location can be found on the post, but would need clearing of brush, logs and stumps." He said there were twenty-one graves in the plot, and he estimated the cost of moving the graves and preparing and enclosing the new site would be $500. Captain Sebree Smith the Commanding Officer forwarded the report. It was about the end of the year before the graves were moved to the new and still existing site. Curiously a "List of names of persons removed from the old cemetery to the new one", dated 18 February 1905, totaled only twenty. The cemetery was moved thirty years later to today's location. It was built in 1905 on elevated ground near the southern limit of the post. This site originally contained only the remains of the first cemetery burials, but was enclosed with an ironwork fence in 1913,and designated as the place of interment for all posts in the Artillery District of Columbia. Fifty known graves at Fort Canby were moved to Fort Stevens Cemetery at this time. An unusual fact to note, is that the graves lie in a north and south direction, instead of the customary east and west direction, an exception granted due to the slope of the land. The customary east to west direction is so that the person who is is buried, "may see the sunrise". This custom dates back some 4000 years.
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