Nashville National Cemetery

By Betsy Thorpe


Nashville National Cemetery, around 1881

The National Cemetery system was founded in 1862, following the enactment of legislation authorizing President Lincoln “to purchase cemetery grounds . . . to be used as a national cemetery.” On November 19, 1863 the president delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the first “Soldiers National Cemetery” in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. In July of 1866 the Nashville National Cemetery was founded and by 1872 75 national cemeteries existed throughout the country.

The first burials at the Nashville National Cemetery were re-interments transferred from local battlefields and veteran hospitals. The Nashville National Cemetery holds over four thousand graves of unknown soldiers.

In 1996 the Nashville National Cemetery was listed in the National Register Of Historic Places.

The Nashville National Cemetery is located north of downtown Nashville at 1420 Gallatin Rd.

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