During Alexander A. Staats’s time in the Civil War, his 88th Reg. OVI was stationed at Camp Chase in Columbus, OH. Camp Chase was a prison camp for Confederate soldiers, and a training facility for Union troops. I imagine that his experiences there may have contributed to his decision to become a doctor. He did attend lectures at Starling Medical College (now part of Ohio State) in Columbus, and eventually graduated from the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery in 1868.On a recent trip to the Ohio Historical Society, I decided to make the short drive to Columbus’ southwest side to see what there was to see.
I’m not sure what I expected upon my visit to the cemetery, which is all that remains of the original camp. Soon after the end of the war, the camp was dismantled and what could be reused, shipped off to other facilities. As you will see in the pictures – this is no small cemetery – over 2000 burials. My only previous Civil War site experience was at Gettysburg, which was and still is one of the most moving places I have ever visited. So I guess I expected something similar here. However, the cemetery is walled in against a neighborhood that, while not necessarily bad, I don’t think I would want to go to a candlelight vigil there. It is surrounded by housing complexes, apartments, a park/baseball field, a nail salon, and a few other local businesses. The cemetery itself seems almost forgotten in the middle of this.
My visit left mixed feelings of equal parts disappointment and sadness. It seems like something more should have been done with the site, and unfortunate that so many brave men are destined to remained penned in for all of eternity. Few people are aware that the place even exists, and even fewer have probably stopped by to visit. Here are a few photos from my visit, so at least you can virtually walk through the cemetery. Click on the pictures for larger images.