Detail of gate post at Alexandria (VA) National Cemetery; Rows of unknown graves at Memphis National Cemetery; Directional sign post to Fort Gibson National Cemetery
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Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served

Quincy National Cemetery

Quincy, Illinois

Quincy National Cemetery
Entrance, Quincy National Cemetery
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs,
National Cemetery Administration, History Program

Quincy National Cemetery, in Quincy, Illinois, began in 1861 as a small soldiers' lot within Woodland Cemetery (1847) along the banks of the Mississippi River.  At the turn of the 20th century, however, all of the burials were reinterred across town, in a new lot at Graceland Cemetery, which eventually became Quincy National Cemetery.  The cemetery, which is now closed to new interments, is the final resting place for more than 200 Civil War soldiers along with veterans of several other wars and the peacetime military establishment.

During the Civil War, the Union Army established a military hospital just south of Quincy, adjacent to Woodland Cemetery.  The site’s access to the Mississippi River allowed for the easy transport of wounded soldiers from battlefields in the south.  In order to bury Union troops who died in the local hospital, a soldiers' lot at Woodland Cemetery was established in 1861. In 1870, the cemetery transferred the quarter-acre lot to the Federal Government.  Three years later, four gun monuments were erected and 64 cannonballs were placed as decorative elements at the soldiers' lot.  In 1882, the Army designated the site as a national cemetery.

In 1899, the Federal Government purchased a 0.45-acre burial plot within Graceland Cemetery, on the east side of Quincy, about three miles from Woodland Cemetery.  The government proceeded to reinter approximately 300 remains from the old soldiers' lot in the new location.  In 1936, the site was designated as Quincy National Cemetery.  Modern road construction and commercial development have since separated the national cemetery from the rest of Graceland Cemetery, which is today located south of Maine Street.

Quincy National Cemetery consists of a single, rectangular burial section enclosed by a black metal picket fence.   The entrance is located at the center of the western side. A walkway from the entrance leads to a circular flagpole plaza at the center of the cemetery.  Four artillery monuments grace the cemetery; two are on either side of the walkway and the other two are in the back corners of the cemetery.  Four cannonball pyramids surround the upright cannons. Graves at the cemetery lay in rows running north and south, 24 in all.  No superintendent’s lodge was ever constructed for Quincy National Cemetery, and no other structures or monuments are present.

Perhaps one of the most infamous chapters in the history of the cemetery concerns Martin Easley, the first superintendent of the soldiers’ lot at Woodland Cemetery.  Easley, a Civil War veteran, was appointed to the position in 1882 based in part upon the recommendation of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).  However, less than three months into his tenure it was revealed that his endorsement from the GAR was contingent on Easley paying the post $520 of his yearly salary of $720 as superintendent.  Easley was subsequently removed from the position, and the Federal Government contracted for the maintenance of the soldiers' lot.
Plan your visit

Quincy National Cemetery is located near the northeast corner of the 36th and Maine Sts., in Quincy, IL.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from dawn to dusk.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  The administrative office is located at Rock Island National Cemetery and is open Monday-Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm; it is closed on all Federal holidays except for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 309-782-2094, 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.

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

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