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Names of Union soldiers not marked at Salisbury cemetery

(WSOC photo)

SALISBURY, N.C. - On this Memorial Day, dozens came to honor loved ones at the Salisbury National Cemetery. However, there is a section of the cemetery that doesn't name thousands of veterans.

Mark Hughes of Kings Mountain has been trying to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to mark the names of 3,500 Union soldiers who were buried in 13 trenches at the site.

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For years, he poured through thousands of documents to locate records for the soldiers who died in 1864 and 1865 while they were held captive at the Confederate prison in Salisbury.

Their bodies were thrown into trenches, but their graves were never marked. Eventually, the VA installed a monument to recognize them, but Hughes said the information is incorrect.

Last year, Hughes even asked if the 46 African-American soldiers buried here could receive markers.

Again, he said, the VA declined his request.

"It would not disrupt the trenches, it would honor these people, and it would give their relatives a place for closure," Hughes said.

Even though it's been years of work, Hughes said he isn't going to stop until these veterans are properly honored.

"We'll get it done someday," Hughes said. Names of the soldiers are on the VA's website.

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