There’s a place in southern New Jersey that most people wouldn’t recognize as New Jersey. I have family there; a few famous people have come from that area, like Bruce Willis and John Forsythe. It’s not the New Jersey most people would imagine, with smoke stakes, traffic jams, and densely populated urban areas. This part of New Jersey, Salem County, is rich with American history. It hasn’t changed much since the l950’s, and it resembles a southern area more than a northern area.
The terrain is flat; the summer climate, because it’s below sea level in some parts, resembles New Orleans. And the reason I’m posting about it is because I’m finishing up a new historical romance set there during the civil war. When I lived in Salem County, there was a park where I used jog called Fortt Mott. Not far from Fort Mott is a place called Finns Point. The most significant historical fact about Finns Point is that there’s a cemetery where unknown confederate soliders were buried. And though I literally walked and jogged this park for years, I wanted to know more about the historical facts.
So here are a few of the basics. I’ll post more as I approach the release date. I’m shooting for Setepmber right now. This book has gone through hundreds of edits and revises since it began. I don’t normally write historical romance, especially pg rated historical romance, and I wanted everything to be as close to perfect as possible. I’m also well aware of the fact that the historical police will be watching, and I want to give them something to research they’ve most likely never heard about before.
Originally purchased by the federal government to build a battery to protect the port of Philadelphia, the land became a cemetery by 1863 for Confederate prisoners of war who died while in captivity at Fort Delaware. One hundred and thirty five Union soldiers who died while serving as guards at the prison camp are also buried here. The death toll among prisoners of war and the guards was high, especially in the latter part of 1863 and throughout 1864. By July 1863, there were 12,595 prisoners on the island at nearby Fort Delaware which was only about 75 acres (30 ha) in size. Disease was rampant and nearly 2,700 prisoners died from malnutrition or neglect. Confederate prisoner interred at the cemetery totaled 2,436 and all are in general unmarked graves.
Officially made a National Cemetery on October 3, 1875 by request of Virginia Governor James L. Kemper, who criticized the poor maintenance of the Confederate grave site.
Finn’s Point National Cemetery is south of Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge near Fort Mott State Park, in Pennsville. The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Andrew Cunanan committed one of his murders at the cemetery on May 9, 1997, killing cemetery caretaker William Reese and stealing his truck.