Section 27: Over 4,000 Unknown Soldiers

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  • Many heroes are laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery

    But Power Boy is the one and only super hero of Arlington National Cemetery. Alright, not really a super hero in the traditional sense, but his story is just as important and just as heroic. A boy with the surname Power and an unknown first name is laid to rest in section 27, the oldest in the cemetery. Power Boy is one of nearly 4,000 former slaves buried in the section where their headstones are marked by the words “citizen” and “civilian.” When the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, it left slaves, like Power Boy, without work and shelter. Thus, Freedman’s Villages were established to help the former slaves adjust to their new lives. Such a village was created on the Arlington grounds and many of the former Arlington Estate slaves lived on the land. Former slaves from surrounding villages were also interred in section 27.

    This section also holds the remains of approximately 1,500 United States Colored Troops (USCT), which was the official designation given to all African American units serving in the U.S. Army during the Civil War.

    Of the more than 5,000 unknown soldiers who are buried at Arlington, many can be found in section 27. Their headstones are distinguished by their small block shape. Additionally, this section is the resting place for Private William Henry Christman. Interred on May 13th 1864, Christman was the first military burial on the Arlington grounds.

    If you are visiting Arlington National Cemetery, take some extra time to explore section 27. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but well worth it. The stop for Ord and Weitzel Gate which leads to The Marine Corp War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) will drop you off near Section 27.

    Amanda Varnam
    Arlington National Cemetery
    Narrator, driver, trainer, and dispatcher.

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