Side by Side in Eternity

The Lives Behind Adjacent American Military Graves


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About the Book

Every gravestone in every graveyard can frame a story far more complex than the dates engraved upon it. It’s common for spouses to be memorialized together as a final affirmation of the commitments made in life, or for bereaved parents to be buried with children who tragically preceded them in death. Close proximity burials of seemingly unrelated figures can similarly reveal the tales of people who otherwise walked together in life, by choice or by chance. For example, the Confederate burial of Union Col. Robert Gould Shaw was certainly meant as a dishonor as Shaw was buried in an unmarked, low-lying coastal trench alongside the fallen African American members of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment he had commanded at Fort Wagner. After the war, however, the men’s remains were recovered and reinterred—meaningfully, still together—at the newly commissioned Beaufort National Cemetery.
This book explores a dozen unique examples of such side-by-side burials over the course of U.S. history. It begins by describing each of the protagonists’ final chapters, before spooling out the tales and significance of their actual journeys to such interwoven endpoints. The evolution of funerary practices and observances in the United States is interspersed throughout, with a special focus on military honors and burials.

About the Author(s)

Rear Admiral James Robert McNeal, SC, USN (Ret.) graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986. After six years on active duty in the Supply Corps, he entered the Reserve component, retiring in 2017. He serves as an adjunct professor at the Naval Academy as well as an assistant coach with the Academy’s Sprint Football Team. J. Eric Smith graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986, and is also an alumnus of the State University of New York at Albany. Following 11 years of service with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, he held four CEO positions in the nonprofit sector and maintained a writing and advisory career. He lives in Sedona, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

James Robert McNeal and J. Eric Smith
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 59 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8792-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4850-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Prologue: Personal Perspectives on Perpetual Proximity by James Robert McNeal 1
Introduction: Perpetual Proximity: Why Care About Adjacent Interments and the Stories They Tell? 5
Chapter One. Robert Gould Shaw (1837–1863) and the Soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Various Dates–1863) 17
Chapter Two. Susan Bogert Warner (1819–1885) and Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915) 36
Chapter Three. The Virginia Military Institute Cadets and the Battle of New Market (c. 1830s–1864) 48
Chapter Four. Douglas Albert Munro (1919–1942) and Edith Fairey Munro (1895–1983) 66
Chapter Five. Leavenworth’s German Prisoners of War (1910s/1920s­–1945) 82
Chapter Six. Quentin Roosevelt (1897–1918) and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1887–1944) 97
Chapter Seven. Hazel Ying Lee (1912–1944) and Victor Ying Lee (1914–1944) 115
Chapter Eight. James Clifton “Mandy” Colbert (1928–1951), Roosevelt Colbert (1898–1944), and Gilford Weems (Unknown–1939) 140
Chapter Nine. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom (1926–1967) and Roger B. Chaffee (1935–1967); Edward H. White II (1930–1967) 158
Chapter Ten. James Bond Stockdale (1923–2005) and William James Crowe, Jr. (1925–2007) 172
Chapter Eleven. Andrew Paul Britton (1981–2008) and Christopher Eoion ­­Vine-Britton (1983–2010) 188
Epilogue: Personal Perspectives on Perpetual Proximity by J. Eric Smith 202
Sources and Recommended Additional Reading 213
Index 221