Ohio - Home Of the First State Military Hall Of Fame - Honoring Forgotten Veterans

Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery


West Side Military History In the Capital

Ohio contains a substantial amount of military history, from "Indian" wars to the War of 1812 on the Great Lake Erie, the Toledo War, the French and Indian War, and a list of others. My great grandfather fought in the American Civil War or the Union Army and the flag of his military unit is displayed in the State Capitol building in Columbus, Ohio. That building contains a lot of military history as well.

Columbus itself was the site of prisoner or war camps for Confederate captures. These prisoners were brought to the center of town near the capitol building, from where they were required to march out West Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue over five miles to Camp Chase. A veteran's cemetery sits on that site now, Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery. The burial grounds are 1.5 blocks long and 0.5 block wide and open to the public daily.

Interestingly, Camp Chase is located just under two miles west of the historic Feeble Minded Cemetery. This has been part of the state mental health complex located in this sector of the Franklinton and Hilltop Areas of Columbus.

The complex contained the State Psychiatric Hospital, the State School (for the mentally retarded"), and the State Forensic Institute for the Criminally Insane (and research). For a time, some inmates from the hospital and "school" were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of the complex, but more recent government efforts have ensured that most have been exhumed and buried with markers and family witness. Yet, an eerie atmosphere lingers around the grounds and on out Sullivant Avenue to Camp Chase and good use is made of this on Halloween Ghost Tours of the city each autumn.

Respect For Adversaries

Camp Chase was originally a Union training camp, converted to a POW camp. Things were very bad there. In 1863 Camp Chase had accumulated a total of 8,000 men who were devastated by disease. By the end of 1864, a smallpox epidemic had run rampant and killed many. The camp changed into a cemetery.

Political prisoners at Camp Chase were transferred to an island prison in Lake Erie, but the rest were buried around Columbus, perhaps even in the Feeble Minded Cemetery - without markers. Inn the 1890s, the state government began moving bodies back to Camp Chase as a cemetery and marking as many as they could, provided they found identification. In fact, this movement to respect the Confederate veterans was initiated by a Union veteran, William Knauss. We have only estimates, but between 2168 to 2260 Confederate soldiers are buried in this spot, most with markers, and overall with two large bronze statues in tribute to them.

The cemetery is now on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

Westside Military Historical Sites

show route and directions
A markerState Capitol Columbus, Ohio -
Ohio State Capitol, Columbus, OH 43215, USA
[get directions]

B markerCamp Chase Confederate Cemetery -
Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, Columbus, OH 43204, USA
[get directions]

C markerShrum Mound -
2986 McKinley Ave, Columbus, OH 43204, USA
[get directions]

Native Warriors

A Native American burial mound is located in a roadside park near Downtown Columbus on McKinley Avenue and approximately four miles north of Camp Chase. Shrum Mound is named after the family that donated their land to the park and the mound may belong to prehistoric Indigenous People. While battles between native bands and between natives and white settlers occurred in our area, the mound was likely left here long before the American Civil War. At the same time, who knows what heroes might be resting inside?

Appropriate Memorials

In recent decades, a small group of Vietnam Veterans considered that a state military hall of fame was in order and they set about proposing to establish one. It is well known that our Vietnam Conflict Veterans have not always received prompt services from the VA, nor respect frm the non-military public. However, this group of veterans excited about a possible hall of fame stated that they wanted to honor all Ohio veterans of any combat service that have been awarded any sort of medal for valor for a specific act of heroism. After all, some were awarded medals posthumously and the public never heard about it. A hall of fame seemed fitting as a remembrance and respectful recognition.

The Hall of Fame opened during July 4th Week in 2000. The first class of inductees included veteran from WWII, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Conflict, and Desert Storm.

The most recent class of 17 veterans was inducted for 2012, men who service in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. On of these was WWII Veteran Walter Kropp, who never spoke about the war to family or friends. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Germany and died in January 2012 at the age of 88, after leading three successful local savings and loans and serving on many Central Ohio boards.

Only Ohioan of the eight women listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC (the Wall)
Only Ohioan of the eight women listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC (the Wall) | Source

Sharon A. Lane in Vietnam

The first female veteran was inducted in 2003, posthumously. Zanesville's Sharon A. Lane was a US Army 1st Lieutenant staff nurse at the 312th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam in 1969, just two months after her arrival. A 122mm rocket made a direct hit on the facility, but having first heard the sound of incoming attack, Lane rushed to her ward and began actions to safeguard her patients. Shrapnel killed her, but she saved many patients and prevented her ward from complete destruction. She was the first woman killed by direct fire in the war and was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm. Aultman Hospital in Canton OH, Lane's school, installed a bronze statue to her memory with names of 110 local servicemen killed in Vietnam etched into its base.

Nominate a Hero

Do you know a US Veteran (male for female, living or dead) that was born in Ohio or entered the armed forces in Ohio and was awarded a medal for heroism or valor? If so, you may nominate that individual for the Ohio Military Hall of Fame at: Nominate a Veteran.

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Comments 7 comments

Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 4 years ago

Blessings to you Patty! I had incorrectly assumed ALL states have a Military Hall of Fame!? I agree, our Veterans play such an important part in our lives and yet too, too, too often are under appreciated! Thank you for bringing this all to our attention! Blessings, Earth Angel!

KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

This is wonderful! With all of the Halls of Fame for everything else, music and sports especially, it is refreshing to hear of one to honor our military, true heroes! Thank you for sharing this!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Earth Angel - I wish all stated DID have them! It is wonderful for forgotten heroes and their surviving families to receive the recognition sorely needed for giving years of their lives - or losing their lives -for the rest of us to be safe and happy - happy in a free land, even though we are rife with political fights and social issues. Maybe local veterans groups would be interested in starting a hall of fame?

KathyJ - A new class of vets is added just after May Day every year. It is incredible to read their stories. Thanks for posting!

Lwelch profile image

Lwelch 4 years ago from USA

Interesting! I only knew about the stuff at the state house, not the other locations.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

A lot of these things are not well advertised at all.

Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Exceptional Hub, Patty and I found it more than interesting -- no matter what state a reader lives in. In my mind every state should do all they can to remember their heroes -- of any nationality or any war. We owe those folks a debt that can never be paid. Honoring them is the very least we can do. Definitely voted up! Best/Sis

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thanks very much for commenting, Angela; I hope enough people will read and be moved by this Hub to begin Halls of Fame in their own states to recognize their military people as well.

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