Richmond National Cemetery

Richmond, VA
United States
Richmond National Cemetery

Located three miles southeast of downtown Richmond, this 9.74-acre cemetery serves as the final resting place for more than 9,300 individuals. Established in 1866 and lying within the Confederate lines of fortification, the cemetery was created for the reinterment of Union soldiers from nearby burial grounds including Shockoe, Oakwood, and Hollywood Cemeteries, the Belle Isle Confederate Prison, and from battlefields at Rocketts Landing, Cold Harbor, and Seven Pines.

The rectangular parcel—now surrounded by residential neighborhoods— was purchased from three owners between 1867 (reinterments had already commenced by the time the deed was transferred) and 1903. A superintendent’s lodge was built in 1870 according to standard plans designed by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs. In 1890 a rostrum and gazebo were constructed in the northeast section of the cemetery.  Enclosed by a sandstone and granite wall also built in 1890, the layout of the cemetery comprises four burial sections divided by a cross-axis of paved roads. The main entrance at the center of the north wall is marked by stone pillars and a wrought-iron gate. At the intersection of the four plots, a grass mound is ornamented with a flagpole. The burial markers, originally whitewashed wooden boards, comprise neatly ordered marble headstones in linear rows on the east-west axis. In 1952 the gazebo was removed leaving only a concrete pad, brick platform, and iron stairs and railing. The cemetery was closed to new burials in 1963. A few specimen oaks and magnolias, as well as crape myrtle and pines, punctuate the site, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.