The work of interring 9,000 dead, and removing to comfortable quarters and caring for 20,000 wounded, was a herculean task. The Confederates had left the most of their unburied on the field as also a large number of their badly wounded. The number of surgeons was limited although increased by volunteers from the North, and their task so great that it is narrated in some instances the operators had to be supported while performing the operation, and fainted from exhaustion when finished.
The men were buried everywhere, when convenient in clusters of ten, twenty, fifty or more; but so great was the number and such the advanced state of decomposition of those that had been dead for several days, that they could not be removed, and were buried in slight ditches, in the fields or gardens, or by the roadside, just where they were found. Some fields contain hundreds of these graves, and in one, in the vicinity of Little Round Top, lie four hundred Confederate soldiers.
When the Union and Confederate forces left the battlefield at Gettysburg, they both left 50,000 dead, wounded, or missing behind. Burial teams were sent in to quickly cover the 8,000 bodies left on the battlefield until an interstate committee could be created to arrange for a military cemetery. The Union loss was 2,834 killed, 13,713 wounded, and 6,643 missing. The best estimates put the Confederate loss at 5,000 killed, 23,000 wounded and 8,000 unwounded prisoners.