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Forcing Confederate War Guilt, Displaying National Triumph: Salisbury Prison and the Salisbury National Cemetery

The Salisbury National Cemetery was built as a triumph to Union victory and attempted to force guilt on the former Confederacy. The Confederate prison at Salisbury was one of the most brutal prisons in the Civil War. Immediately after the war, the United States created a National Cemetery at Salisbury, which damned the Confederacy for its actions. However, in the decades following the Civil War, reconciliation transformed the cemetery into a truly national site. The state monuments in the early twentieth century symbolize this. They focused on individual sacrifice instead of Confederate guilt or US triumph. Today the Salisbury National Cemetery is a shared site of grief, no longer dominated by any one section.


Nathan Johnson