Alexandria (VA) National Cemetery; Superintendent’s Lodge at City Point National Cemetery
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Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served

Lexington National Cemetery

Lexington, Kentucky

Boundary Marker
Boundary Marker, Lexington National Cemetery
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration, History Program

Lexington National Cemetery consists of one triangular burial section located within the grounds of the public Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.  The first burial in the national cemetery, that of Amos Barr of the 14th Infantry, occurred in 1861, in what was then a soldiers’ lot donated by Lexington Cemetery.  Today, the national cemetery is notable for the arrangement of burials in concentric circles around the central flagpoles and original marble boundary posts.

Though the city of Lexington escaped major fighting during the Civil War, the area was subject to numerous skirmishes, including the raids of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan.  In October 1862, Morgan defeated Union cavalry outside of Lexington, enabling him to enter the city, capture its garrison, and parole Confederate prisoners.  Later, Union forces captured and imprisoned Morgan in Ohio, but he escaped in 1863 to resume a leadership position in the Confederate Army.  The following May he forced the surrender of the city of Lexington.

A large general hospital in Lexington served wounded soldiers from across the region, necessitating the creation of a military cemetery in town.  The lot chosen for the site sat along the southwestern property line of the city-owned Lexington Cemetery,  just north of downtown.  Many of the earliest interments were mortally wounded soldiers from the local hospital, or remains reinterred from Mount Sterling, Paris, Cynthiana, and along the line of the Kentucky Central Railroad.  In 1863, upon congressional designation, the soldiers’ lot became the Lexington National Cemetery.

The first lot was a 0.37-acre parcel donated by the Lexington Cemetery Company.  A second adjacent parcel of land purchased by the Federal Government in 1868 brought the total area to 0.75 acres.  West Main Street bounds the national cemetery to the south and west, while the curvilinear pathways of the Lexington Cemetery to the east give the lot its distinctive triangular shape.  A 75-foot tall flagpole is situated near the center of the lot, around which the 1,388 grave markers are laid out in concentric rings.

While no fences or walls enclose the national cemetery, ten marble posts inscribed with “U.S.” mark its boundary.  There is no superintendent’s lodge for Lexington National Cemetery.  An arrangement with the Federal Government has made the Lexington Cemetery Company responsible for the national cemetery’s maintenance since 1868.
Plan your visit

Lexington National Cemetery is located within the confines of Lexington Cemetery, at 833 West Main St., in Lexington, KY.  Click here for the National Register of Historic Places files: text and photographs.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from dawn to dusk; however, no cemetery staff is present on site.  The administrative office is located at Camp Nelson National Cemetery Nicholasville, KY, and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm, and is closed on all Federal holidays.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 859-885-5727, or see the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  While visiting, please be mindful that our national cemeteries are hallowed ground.  Be respectful to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers and their families.  Additional cemetery policies may be posted on site.

Visitors to the Lexington National Cemetery may also be interested in the Lexington Cemetery.  Lexington Cemetery and the Henry Clay Monument are featured in the National Park Service's Lexington, Kentucky: The Athens of the West Travel Itinerary.

Lexington National Cemetery was photographed to the standards established by the National Park Service’s Historic American Landscapes Survey.

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