Grave of James Lewis at the Waterford cemetery in Loudoun County Virginia

View of farm at the Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery in Loudoun County VA

Civil War reenactment at the Waterford cemetery in Loudoun County Virginia

Civil War reenactment at the Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery

This quiet cemetery is on a commanding rise at the northeast end of the village of Waterford in Loudoun County Virginia. The graveyard takes its name not from the Civil War, but rather from its use by a "union" of Waterford churches.

Since the early 1800s, the Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery has served all Waterford denominations (albeit segregated into two sections: black [208 graves] and white [369 graves]) other than the Quakers — whose burying ground adjoins Fairfax Meetinghouse. Both Union and Confederate veterans lie here.

The cemetery is now managed as a nonprofit organization with the mission to preserve the graveyard and its history.

The cemetery was laid out early in the nineteenth century and was strictly segregated, with the black section to the rear. Both sections contain fine marble monuments, but many African Americans could afford no more than a roughly flat stone brought in from some field, or just a wooden marker that quickly weathered away. The resulting gaps in the rows testify eloquently to the inequalities of the day.

Civil War veterans of both races - and both armies - lie peaceably together in the same cemetery. Their graves bear appropriate military markers. One such grave is that of James Lewis (born 1844) who traveled to Pittsburgh during the war where he joined the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, a black unit that was Immortalized in the film, Glory.

A wreath laying ceremony takes place during the Waterford Fair every October.

Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery in the national historic village of Waterford VA

Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery