As Arlington National Cemetery continued to expand, over time there were gates erected that marked the various entrances to this national shrine where the heroes of the United States are at rest in their final sleep…
Current gates to enter Arlington National Cemetery include the two from Memorial Drive consisting of pairs of wrought iron gates – to the North is the Schley and the Roosevelt to the South. From the West side are the Old Post Chapel Gate and the Memorial Chapel Gate with the Selfridge Gate (restricted access) between the two.
McClellan, Sheridan, Ord-Weitzel, Treasury were the four East facing gates where one could enter the Arlington National Cemetery. Among them only the McClellan and Ord-Weitzel Gates still exist in the year 2013. The latter has been altered when it’s believed that it was moved and re-oriented from facing EAST to facing NORTH… gone are the pillars with tops adorned with urns and the names ORD and WEITZEL inscribed in each of the pillars.
Starting from the North end of the cemetery, the Ord-Weitzel Gate honors two US Army Generals – Major Generals Edward Otho Cresap Ord and Godfrey (Gottfried) Weitzel
who between themselves and their commands were critical in the ending of the US Civil War. Both of these generals, who are West Point graduates, also
commanded the Union Army’s XVIII Corps (not to be confused with the current XVIII Airborne Corps) during the Civil War. Ord was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox and is at rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Section 2 near Arlington House. It was Weitzel who followed through and made it a reality the often heard / read slogan “On to Richmond” when he led the troops into the Confederate Capital and took Confederate President Jeff Davis’ home as his headquarters.
As it is suggested, the Ord-Weitzel Gate was moved and re-oriented when Sections 51, 52 and 53 were added. It also impacted the Sheridan Gate, which was dismantled and removed and consumed the roadbed of the trolley line that once ran the length of the then North-South border of Arlington National Cemetery. To the South, where Arlington Farms were and ultimately South Post, Fort Myer and is now all Arlington National Cemetery.
Coming next – The Sheridan Gate
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