Confederate Connections at Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan (phto from

I mentioned to a friend the other day that Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit had some Confederate dead buried there.  I’ve been told that there are three, but only am aware of two.  My friend was kind of suprised- Elmwood being in Detroit, afterall-a northern city. It shouldn’t be a suprise, I think. The war itself was mixed up-families fighting against families, etc. Besides, the Confederate dead there in Elmwood passed away after the war-the nation was no longer divided. I’m sure there are more, but, here are a few connections to the C.S.A. that I have found among its dead:

 Gustavus Adolphus DeRussy 11/03/1818-05/29/1891:

Not a Confederate soldier but a Union officer. Served in the Peninsular Campaign and at Fredericksburg. Given honors by General McClellan. Long record of military service.

Connection: His uncle Lewis DeRussy was a Colonel in the Confederate Army.

Philip St. George Cooke 06/13/1804-03/20/1895:

Not a Confederate soldier but a Union General. West Point Class of 1827. Distinguished military service. Born in Leesburg, Virginia. He resisted family pressure to join the C.S.A. .

Connection: His only son John Rogers Cooke was a Confederate General.  Also, Philip St. George Cooke was JEB Stuart’s Father-in- law.

Emma Berry 12/02/1837-05/20/1875:

Born in Richmond, Virginia and married to John Berry in Detroit, Michigan.

Connection: Emma Berry was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, C.S.A. and Aide to Jefferson Davis.

Rev. Samuel Smith Harris 09/14/1841-08/21/1888:

Rev. Harris was from Alabama. He became the Second Bishop of Michigan in the Episcopal Church.

Connection: He was an officer in the Confederate Army. After the war, he became a lawyer and minister. He entered the ministry. He is the great-grandfather of actress Julie Harris. Interestingly enough, Julie Harris portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln in the drama “Last Days of Mrs. Lincoln’ (1976).

I’m informed that the Sons of the Confederate Veterans (and maybe the Daughters of Confederate Veterans?) have in the past honored Confederate graves in Elmwood. If any of you know of other Confederate graves/connections in the cemetery not mentioned in this post please feel free to share.

Elmwood Cemetery is really quite special. It’s landscape is beautiful. As a kid, I used to visit the “Bloody Run” and play war with my brother on it’s banks. I never dreamed that so many war dead were there-as well as politicians and leaders in every field of endeavor. There are hundreds of Civil War soldiers buried in it’s grounds-from privates to generals. In fact, there are soldiers laid to rest there from every war era-including the American Revolution. There is even a British soldier buried there who fought in the Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812). There are also former slaves buried there-including a soldier from the 54th Massachusetts. Not really suprising then, that some with their final resting place at Elmwood might have Confederate connections.

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2 Responses to “Confederate Connections at Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery”

  1. B. Nash says:

    Great bit of history. Thank you!

  2. Brenda says:

    There is one more Confederate soldier out there his name was Sylvester Wesley Higgins. He was a surveyor and did most of Michigan: Higgins Lake up north is named after Sylvester. The United Daughters of the Confederacy do have Memorial services out there they are usually the weekend before Memorial Day on Sunday.

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