Columbus, Ohio | Information Compiled by Dennis Ranney | Member of General Roswell Ripley Camp - SCV
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A Missing Grave and Tombstone at the Camp Chase Cemetery

By Dennis Ranney of the SCV and Joanie Jackson of the UDC 

Perhaps a better title for this article may be “missing graves and tombstones”, plural, because there are many at the Camp Chase Cemetery, this is the story of one such mystery.

When a person wanders through the cemetery, they may notice the tombstones are in numerical order and every so often there is a missing number in the sequence of tombstones. Sometimes it’s not what you see at the cemetery but rather what you don’t see. This is the story of the missing grave #59 and why this soldier’s tombstone is also missing. Today another grave and tombstone occupies grave number 59.

William Leondias Pope was born about 1831 to parents William R. Pope and Lesey Gant Pope. William’s father would die in 1846. William’s younger brother, Sergeant James Rouse Pope, would enlist in the Confederate Army, like many in 1861 and became a member of Company E, 44th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry. He died in Kentucky on October 15, 1862.

William L. Pope enlisted in Company A of the 9th (Gantt’s) Battalion Tennessee Cavalry in 1861 and was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee on February 16, 1862, and sent to Camp Morton, Indiana. He would be paroled and exchanged in the fall of 1862 and captured again at Columbia, Tennessee on September 11, 1863. This time transferred to Louisville, Kentucky. William would arrive at the Camp Chase Prison from Louisville on September 21, 1863..

One of the rules at Camp Chase were no lights to be burned in quarters in the night after taps, except in case where they are directed by the officer of the guard. Where a sentinel perceives any improper light he will notify the mess to put out the light and if not done immediately will call the sergeant of the guard. While trying to render aid to a fellow Confederate prisoner who was ill by having a light on in the barracks, William approached a guard, presumably to ask for a burning light to be left burning.

The following statements concerning the incident are noted:

Statement of Silas Haught, citizen of Virginia (prisoner of war), in the case of the shooting of W. L. Pope, prisoner of war.

I was acquainted with W. L. Pope. Pope was shot in the evening about 8 o'clock. I heard some boys in my mess say that they heard the sentinel order him away from the gate two or three times. Pope made no reply. I understood he went to the gate to see something about burning a light in a mess where there was a sick man. That is all I know about the shooting of W. L. Pope.


Citizen of Virginia.

[Enclosure Numbers 19.]

Statement of Henry Glover, citizen of West Virginia (prisoner of war), in the case of the shooting of W. L. Pope, prisoner of war.

I knew Pope when I saw him but was not acquainted with him. It was a little after dusk when Pope was shot. I was on the street and within 100 feet of him at the time. When I first saw him, he was standing at the gate looking into the key room. I heard the sentinel tell him to get away from the gate. I also heard him (the sentinel) tell him to get away from there the second time. I do not remember hearing the sentinel say anything more to him.

I think it was about one minute from the time I first saw Pope at the gate until I heard the sentinel order him away, and I think it was about two minutes from the time I first heard the sentinel tell him to go away until he was shot. I did not see Pope after he was shot.


Citizen of West Virginia.

I certify that the above is a true copy.


Lieutenant and Provost-Marshal of Prison Numbers 3.

P. S. -Henry Glover was released yesterday. We did not see him to get his signature.


[Enclosure Numbers 20.]

Statement of James S. Sapp, citizen of West Virginia (prisoner of war), in the case of the shooting of W. L. Pope, prisoner of war.

I knew Pope; he was the sergeant of our mess, which is mess 1. I do not recollect the date when he was shot. About half-past 7 in the evening Pope said he would go up to the gate and ask permission of the sergeant of the gate to burn a light in our mess, as we had a sick man there, and he immediately started for that purpose. I do not think it was more than five or ten minutes after he started until I heard the report of a gun. The next I saw of Pope they were helping him up. I do not know where the ball hit him or how long he lived.


Citizen of West Virginia.

[Enclosure Numbers 21.]

CAMP DOUGLAS, ILL., February 27, 1864.

In compliance with orders from Brigadier-General Orme, dated February 26, 1864, I would respectfully submit the following statement in reference to the shooting of William L. Pope, at Camp Chase, Ohio:

Said William L. Pope, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, was fired upon and shot by a sentinel on post at Prison Numbers 2, Camp Chase, Ohio, between the hours of 8 and 10 on the night of November 5, 1863.

At the time, and for some weeks previous, and also thereafter, I was filling the position of provost-marshal of prisoners at Prisons Nos. 1 and 2, Camp Chase, Ohio, having been detailed to that duty by order of Brigadier-General Mason, commandant at Columbus and at Camp Chase, Ohio, with orders to report to Lieutenant Colonel A. H. Poten, assistant commandant of prisons, for instructions, and I received all my instructions from him. Those instructions did not give me any immediate control of the guards, but I was to be conversant with the instructions given them from time to time and was required to watch closely whilst on my tour of duty through and about the prisons and see that sentries strictly carried out their instructions and report cases of neglect or carelessness.

At the time, and for some time previous to the shooting of William L. Pope, the instructions given sentries were more rigorous than common, and greater vigilance was required owing to the persistent efforts of the prisoners to escape by tunneling under the prison walls and the continued discoveries of plots, seeming to have connection with outside influence, for their release.

No prisoner was allowed to approach the wall nearer than ten feet, day or night, and no lights were allowed to be burned in their quarters after taps. The sentries were instructed to warn the prisoners if they attempted to approach- to halt and order them away. If he persisted in approaching after being so halted twice, or refused to go away when ordered, the sentry was to fire upon him.

In case lights were seen burning, the sentry was to order them out twice; if not extinguished, was to fire. In case of a necessity for deviation from this rule the consent of the provost-marshal was to be obtained, and it was his duty to inform the officer of the day of such permission being given, that the sentries might be instructed accordingly.

No permission was so given to William L. Pope to approach the wall, nor was I solicited for such permission at any time for some days previous to the shooting of William L. Pope. Two tunnels were known to be in course of construction by prisoners in Prison Numbers 2, and as extra caution was called for, the provost-marshal was required to visit the prison after night before retiring for the night.

On the night of the shooting of William L. Pope, in company with the commissary of prisons, was going the rounds, visiting sentries and suspected points about the prison to see that all was correct, and while approaching from the outside the entrance gate of Prison Numbers 1, heard the challenge of a sentry, we continued to walk toward the gate and had taken perhaps twenty steps, when the following words were spoken:

"I have told you to go away often enough", and instantly followed the report of a musket, with the groans of a person on the inside of the prison wall.

An immediate investigation showed that the challenge and remarks spoken of had come from a sentry on post on the parapet, over the gate and that he had fired the shot at and struck one William L. Pope, a prisoner of war, whom the sentry stated had persisted in approaching the wall, the blood on the ground showing that Pope was close to the wall when shot.

All of which I respectfully submit.


Lieutenant, Company B, Fifteenth Regiment Invalid Corps.

Subscribed and sworn to before me at Chicago, Ill., this 29th day of February, 1864.


Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Volunteers.

[Enclosure Numbers 22.]


Chicago, Ill., February 27, 1864.

Affidavit of Corpl. Miller Wilson, Company A, Fifteenth Regiment, Invalid Corps, in regard to the shooting of William L. Pope, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, at Camp Chase, November 5, 1863.

My instructions were first to allow no man to come within four feet of the fence. Second, to halt all men twice. Third, when they refused to obey the challenge to fire upon them. Fourth, I received my instructions from Captain Smith, Company C, Fifteenth Regiment Invalid Corps, officer of the day at that time. I also received the same orders from the officer of the guard, whose name I disremember.

I was on the parapet of Prison Numbers 1, and the prisoner, Pope, came out of the door of the barracks between 11 and 12 o'clock at night. He came toward the fence and came to within a few feet of the fence, when I ordered him to halt three or four times, but he did not stop and I fired on him. The ball went through his right arm and hip and completely through his body.

He died about 4 o'clock next morning.

MILLER (his x mark) WILSON,

Corporal, Company A, Fifteenth Regiment Invalid Corps.

Subscribed and sworn to before me at Chicago, Ill., this 28th day of February, 1864.


Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Volunteers.

The 1907 listing of graves at the Camp Chase Cemetery indicated Private William L. Pope’s body as being removed from the cemetery. Find A Grave has his tombstone as being William L. Pope born May 22, 1831, and buried in Pope Cemetery, Burwood, Williamson County, Tennessee.

The National Cemetery Administration has a strict rule, “no body, no tombstone”. However, based upon present day research there are several tombstones at Camp Chase Cemetery that do not have accompanying bodies, another such soldier is Major (spelled as) Cassady on his cenotaph tombstone #2068 at Camp Chase. Alexander Casseday (1836-1862) is actually buried at the Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

From the Louisville Daily Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) on March 25, 1862, page three column one.

“The funeral of the late Alex. Casseday was very largely attended yesterday. The religious service was performed at Christ Church.” His remains were brought back to Kentucky directly after his death.

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