Nashville National Cemetery
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member LSUMonica
N 36° 14.500 W 086° 43.399
16S E 524860 N 4010788
Quick Description: Nashville National Cemetery is located in Madison, Tenn., in Davidson County approximately six miles northeast of Nashville’s city center.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 3/23/2007 11:44:09 AM
Waymark Code: WM1B8Q
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 122

Long Description:
This hallowed ground was established as a U.S. Military Cemetery on Jan. 28, 1867. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad runs through the cemetery, dividing it into two nearly equal halfs. The stone wall around the cemetery and the limestone archway at the front entrance were constructed in 1870. Among other outbuildings and structures, a speaker’s rostrum was completed in 1940.

Most of the land for Nashville National Cemetery was acquired shortly after the Civil War. In July 1866, 45 acres were transferred to the United States from Morton B. Howell, master of the Chancery Court of Nashville, in accordance with the decree of the court. During the first few months of 1867, another 17 acres were conveyed in the same manner. The final portion, about 1-1/2 acres, was purchased by the United States in 1879 from J. Watts Judson.

The original interments were the remains of soldiers removed from temporary burial grounds around Nashville’s general hospitals, as well as the Civil War battlefields at Franklin and Gallatin, Tenn., and Bowling Green and Cave City, Ky.

Originally there were 16,489 interments (burials) of known soldiers and employees: 38 were officers, 10,300 were white soldiers, 1,447 were colored soldiers, and 703 were employees.

The deceased had been gathered from an extensive region of Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky. The number of distinct burial places from which these bodies were taken is 251.

A very large proportion of the dead in the cemetery, however, were transferred from the hospital burial grounds in and around the city of Nashville and from temporary burial grounds around general hospitals in Nashville and nearby battlefields of Franklin and Gallatin, Tenn. Reinterments were also made from Bowling Green and Cave City, Ky.

Roll of Honor, No. XXII, dated July 31, 1869, submitted to Quartermaster General’s Office, U.S.A., Washington, D.C., recorded the graves of 16,485 Union soldiers interred in the national cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee and remains as a part of the cemetery’s historical records.

There are 4,141 unknowns interred at Nashville National Cemetery. Among the unknown, there were 3,098 white soldiers, 463 colored soldiers and 29 employees.

During the Civil War, if marked at all, wooden headboards with the names and identifying data painted thereon marked graves of those who died in general hospitals, on the battlefields, or as prisoners of war. Many of these headboards deteriorated through exposure to the elements. The result was that when the remains were later removed for burial to a national cemetery, identifications could not be established, and the gravesites were marked as unknown.


  • Private John Carr, Medal of Honor recipient for action in Arizona Territory during the Indian Wars.
  • Private Charles P. Cantrell, Medal of Honor recipient for action during the Spanish-American War.
  • Corporal William Franklin Lyell, Medal of Honor recipient for action during Korean War.
  • Augustus Herman Pettibone, US Congressman.
  • Barry A. Sadler, Vietnam War veteran, and writer of the song Ballad of the Green Berets.
  • Teddy & Doyle Wilburn, brothers and country music stars.
  • One of the oldest private markers in the cemetery is a spire located in Section M, Grave 16234, which was dedicated to the memory of James A. Leonard of the 1st Kansas Battery. He was killed by guerillas on Jan. 23, 1864 and interred on Jan. 27, 1864.
  • Chaplain Erastus M. Cravath, 101st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was interred in Section MM, Grave 16694, in 1900. Chaplain Cravath was one of the founders of Fisk University in Nashville, and served for 25 years as its president.
  • Colonel James W. Lawless, 5th Kentucky Cavalry, was buried in Section MM, Grave 10662, on June 25, 1899. Col. Lawless was born in Ireland and came to the United States at the age of 16.
  • Colonel Edward S. Jones, Commander of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, was also the founder of the Department of Tennessee and Georgia Grand Army of the Republic and served as Commander for many years. He was interred in Section MM, Grave 16520, in Nov. 1866
  • Statue dedicated in 2006 to the United States Colored Troops who fought in the Civil War.
  • In 1920, the State of Minnesota erected a monument in Section MM inscribed, “In memory of her soliders here buried who lost their lives in the service of the United States in war for Preservation of the Union--AD 1861-1865.”

    Nashville National Cemetery is home to one of five monumental entrance archways erected at national cemeteries during the post-Civil War period. Nashville’s arch was constructed in 1870. The remaining four arches are located at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Rock Island National Cemetery, Marietta National Cemetery, and Arlington National Cemetery.

    The stone wall around the cemetery and the limestone archway at the entrance were both constructed in 1870. At one time, rumors held that the remains of three Union soldiers were entombed at the top of the archway, but there is no evidence to support this claim. The present lodge, the third constructed at the cemetery, was built near the site of the original lodge and was completed in 1931.

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

  • Type of site: Cemetery

    1420 Gallatin Pike S
    Madison, TN USA

    Admission Charged: No Charge

    Website: [Web Link]

    Phone Number: Not listed

    Driving Directions: Not listed

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