Oakwood Cemetery is estimated to contain the remains of as many as 17,000 Confederate soldiers, making it the second largest Confederate cemetery in America. The Confederate section of the cemetery is approximately 7.5 acres.
The Confederates buried in Oakwood were largely the casualties of the major battles fought to defend Richmond from northern invasion beginning in the summer of 1862, including the Seven Days Campaign, Gaines Mill, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Mechanicsville, Savage’s Station, and Beaver Dam Creek. Many were patients that failed to recover in the Chimborazo and Howard’s Grove hospitals.
Many Union soldiers where also originally buried near the Confederates in Oakwood Cemetery. In 1866 the federal government relocated the bodies of most Union soldiers and buried them in Richmond National Cemetery in Fulton.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans offer to maintain the Confederate section of the cemetery back in 2007 was rebuffed by the city, though the group did later provide a new fence for the monument. SCV members also place small Confederate flags on graves in and adjacent to the Confederate section of the cemetery.