The horrible loss of life inflicted as a result of the Civil War
necessitated a revolution in the practical practices of the Undertaker
/ Embalmer.  On the battlefield, upon the aftermath of battle, at
hastily set field hospitals and at expansive U. S. Army General
Hospitals, the challenge of maintaining traditional practice was
exacerbated by the sheer numbers of fallen, distance from home and
loved ones and slow communication.   Additionally, sanitation and
the control of disease under the most challenging of conditions
necessitated change in Victorian burial and memorial practices.  
Temporary burial with simply made markers to facilitate later
recovery became commonplace.  Notification of family was
frequently left to company officers who penned letters to mothers,
fathers and unsuspecting wives.  Words of comfort and location of
burial would highlight a short letter that would frequently be
followed by a more detailed account, sometimes including return of
personal mementoes of the diseased.  The more personal
communication would most usually have come from a friend, a
hometown mate who had entered and served with the diseased.   As
circumstances allowed, loved ones were frequently eager to
recover remains for return home and reinterment in family burial
grounds.  This all led to development of more effective embalming
techniques and radically innovative coffins.  One of the larger and
more progressive of burial case supply and development was
Crane, Breed & Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio.  In 1862, the Crane and
Breed Company introduced a rectangular box-shaped casket which
was chosen for the base for a much embellished casket chosen by
the Chief Undertaker of President Lincoln’s burial in 1865.
Illustrated above from the Hayes Family Collection is the original Patent model submitted in 1865 by Martin
H. Crane  and  Samuel A. Traugh (listed in period directories as a foreman of Crane, Breed & Co) for an
improved seamless, sealable coffin.  The model retains its’ original U. S. Patent Office tag recording the
award on Pat. 2228 .  Company flyers touting the features of its newly designed casket advised:
A delay of days or weeks, awaiting the arrival of absent friends, is entirely practicable.  When due attention is given in sealing, which may, with care, be
accomplished by anyone . . . bodies may be carried to any part of the globe at any season of the year, with perfect safety.
The new sealing feature in combination with traditional Victorian era toe-pincher shape and removable viewing plate served the Crane & Breed Co. well as recovery of the fallen
from burial grounds across the South continued in mass in the earliest post-Civil War period.  
This hastily constructed marker identified the burial location of
casualties of the 3rd North Carolina after the Battle of Antietam
(Sharpsburg).  It serves to remind us here that both Union and
the Confederacy dearly paid the
WAGES OF WAR.  Less
frequently able to properly care for their fallen, this marker for
Confederate loss was likely placed by area citizens who in the
aftermath tended to the gruesome service of caring for the dead
.  With a Confederate casualty total well in excess of 10,000,
men lay unburied for days leading to additional losses of an
untold number of local citizens from disease.  The Adjutant of
the devastated  3rd North Carolina later recorded that with five
hundred and twenty of the Regiment engaged, only one hundred
and ninety could be accounted for after the battle.
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