War Department Errors Etched in Stone

The white stones of Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, as in other national cemeteries, are beautiful in their simplicity. Their uniformity and alignment form mesmerizing geometric patterns, just as the assembled soldiers they represent once did. The sheer volume is sobering. Whether you’re prepared for it or not, silence falls on you, along with sorrow and loss, humility and gratitude. One of those stones belongs to George F. Truett.

But there’s a problem with the service reported on that stone. The problem wasn’t created during the War of 1812 or even at George’s death in 1859. It was created decades after either fact by none other than the War Department itself. The primary culprit in creating one fictional soldier, conflating two other soldiers, and thoroughly confusing researchers is a 1940 national cemetery interment form.[1]

click on image to enlarge

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