Union soldier figure atop monument at Baxter Springs National Cemetery; Bivouac of the Dead plaque at Wood National Cemetery; Flagpole and graves at Togus National Cemetery
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Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served

City Point National Cemetery

Hopewell, Virginia

Army of the James Monument

Army of the James Monument
Photograph courtesy of the National Cemetery Administration History Program.

City Point National Cemetery in Hopewell, Virginia, 18 miles southeast of Richmond, is the final resting place for nearly 6,800 veterans, the majority of whom were Civil War veterans.  Located at the confluence of the James and Appomattox Rivers, the Hopewell area served as a vital supply depot for the Union’s Richmond-Petersburg Campaigns, and was a major hospital center for the region.  The cemetery features a large marble monument dedicated to the Army of the James and a superintendent’s lodge built in 1928.

The Union's goal of capturing Petersburg and then Richmond, the Confederate capital, meant that Hopewell, with its strategic location and transportation linkages, became a vital staging ground for troops, supplies, and weapons in the later stages of the war.  All of the activity led some to call Hopewell the "busiest place in Dixie."  Seven hospitals also operated in the area, treating battlefield casualties from some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

Although the dead from the hospitals were often interred in local cemeteries or hospital burying grounds, the need soon arose for a centralized cemetery.  Thus, in July 1866, the Federal Government established City Point National Cemetery.  Many of the first burials were reinterments from hospital cemeteries, and from the Union casualties at Petersburg and Richmond.  Other reinterments came from cemeteries in Chesterfield and Charles City Counties.  Because those who died in the local hospitals were more easily identified, a relatively low percentage of unknown Civil War casualties are buried at City Point.  Only 1,400 of the approximately 5,150 Civil War soldiers interred in the cemetery are buried as unknown.  The cemetery closed to new interments in July 1971.

City Point National Cemetery contains six burial sections over 6.6 acres, and is roughly rectangular with a semi-circular projection in the center of the eastern wall that contains the cemetery's lodge, service buildings, and parking lot.  Built in the late 19th century, a four-foot high fieldstone wall encloses the cemetery.  Marked by a simple iron pedestrian gate, the historic main entrance to the cemetery sits at the middle of the east wall, at the apex of the semicircle.  In 1941, a new entrance with a double wrought-iron gate, supported by eight-foot tall stone piers, was added to accommodate vehicular traffic.  A third gate north of the lodge provides service access.

Administration building and chapel

The Dutch Colonial style superintendent’s lodge
Photograph courtesy of the National Cemetery Administration History Program.

The superintendent’s lodge is a 1½-story, stucco-clad building with a gambrel roof, a common element of the Dutch Colonial style.  In 1928, this lodge replaced the cemetery’s first lodge, which had been designed by U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs.  At the north end of the cemetery, between sections D and E, is the flagpole.  South of the flagpole, between sections B and C, is the only monument at the City Point National Cemetery, the Army of the James Monument.  This 20-foot tall marble obelisk honors the fallen Union soldiers who served in the Army of the James.  Commander of the Army, Major General Benjamin F. Butler, directed the monument's construction from 1864 to 1865.

Approximately 120 Confederate soldiers are buried in City Point National Cemetery, most in the far western end of Section C.  In 1955, excavations of a vacant lot in Hopewell uncovered the remains of 17 unknown Civil War soldiers, believed to be both Union and Confederate, which were later reinterred in the national cemetery.  Two additional soldiers found in 1959 during the construction of Interstate 95 to the west of Hopewell were also interred at City Point National Cemetery.  On Memorial Day 1982, the remains of one Union soldier were reinterred from near Hopewell to the City Point National Cemetery.
Plan your visit

City Point National Cemetery is located at the intersection of 10th Ave. and Davis St., in Hopewell, VA.  The cemetery is open for visitation from dawn to dusk.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  The administrative office is located at the Hampton National Cemetery, in Hampton, and the office is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:30pm; it is closed on all Federal holidays except for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 757-723-7104, 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.

City Point National Cemetery is one of seven national cemeteries in the Richmond area.  The others include Fort Harrison, Glendale, and Richmond National Cemeteries in Richmond; Seven Pines National Cemetery in Sandston; and, Cold Harbor National Cemetery in Mechanicsville and Poplar Grove in Petersburg.

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

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