Photos from Camp Chase Cemetery

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.

Memorial at Camp Chase Cemetery, Columbus, OH

Winter flowers adding color to a dreary day at Camp Chase Cemetery; Columbus, OH (2010)

A particularly poignant inscription for a Civil War tombstone

A view from the center of Camp Chase Cemetery looking northeast

Panoramic view of Camp Chase Cemetery; looking northeast from the southwest corner

Panoramic view of Camp Chase Cemetery; northeast corner looking southwest

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3 Responses to Photos from Camp Chase Cemetery

  1. avatar Jean Hoffman says:

    Chris, thanks for sharing your thoughts on Camp Chase and taking us on a virtual tour. I can’t remember details off hand, but I know one of my people passed through it during the Civil War. The cemetery doesn’t have the grandeur of the national cemeteries I’ve seen; I’m afraid its Confederate graves were not as referred in the North, plus it is small by comparison. Early on I doubt it was so confined either. Your photographs look very nice.

  2. Evocative photos, Chris. You capture the cemetery’s essence well. We can only hope that, with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War coming up, Camp Chase will receive the notice it deserves. My 3rd-great-grandfather was mustered out there from the 18th Ohio Infantry in 1864.

  3. avatar Dan C says:

    Nice photos. I’ve been there many times. I was puzzled by your caption on the headstone of ‘W. Neighbors’, but then it came to me that you were referring to their status of ‘neighbors’, similar to the way the arch refers to ‘Americans’ rather than ‘rebels’, ‘confederates’, ‘Southerners’, or ‘Secessionists’? As for the cemetery, I’ve found it well kept, particularly when one reads of the original condition from which William Knauss rescued it. Then as now, I guess the cemetery and civil war in general are outside the interests of most people.