• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


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Buffalo Soldiers in The National Cemetery

William Thompkins grave stone

Medal of Honor recipient William H. Thompkins is one of over 450 Buffalo Soldiers buried at the cemetery.

Anthony Powell Collection

The San Francisco National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 450 African American soldiers known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Most are buried in the West Section of the cemetery which was being filled during and shortly after the Spanish American War. Among them is Medal of Honor recipient, William H. Thompkins. During that war, Thompkins and three Buffalo Soldier comrades voluntarily went ashore in the face enemy fire to rescue trapped and wounded U.S. and Cuban soldiers at Tayabacoa, Cuba.

There is an outdoor exhibit panel with information on notable figures buried at the cemetery, including Thompkins, near the entrance gates.

Use the links below to view lists of the Buffalo soldiers buried at the cemetery.


Did You Know?

Jonathan Letterman

Major Jonathan Letterman--after whom the hospital at the Presidio was renamed in 1911--was the medical director of the Army of the Potomac. A founding father of military medicine, Letterman organized forward first-aid stations, mobile field hospitals, and ambulance services during the Civil War.