Every now and then, though, some of them turn up. Literally:
Union Soldiers Return to Mass. for BurialSix mothers waited at home for word of the fate of their sons. Words that never came.
By Ken Maguire, Associated Press Writer
BOURNE, Mass. (AP) -- A fife and drum band led a hearse carrying the remains of six Union soldiers to the Massachusetts National Cemetery, where they were buried Saturday 145 years after they died in the Civil War.
The soldiers, killed in a skirmish days before the first battle of Manassas - a Confederate victory in July 1861 that surprised President Lincoln - were discovered in unmarked graves in the early 1990s when relic hunters came across bones on a site slated for the construction of a fast-food restaurant in Centreville, Va.
War records and other clues, including uniform types, revealed them as members of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The remains later were turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, where they stayed for about a decade. (link)
Finally, their questions are answered and their sons have come home - 145 years later.