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

Glendale National Cemetery

Richmond, Virginia

Glendale National Cemetery

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

Located approximately 13 miles southeast of downtown Richmond, in Henrico County, Virginia, the Glendale National Cemetery is on the site of the Battle of Frayser’s Farm, also called the Battle of Glendale.  As part of the Seven Days’ Campaign at the conclusion of the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, the Confederates had an opportunity but were unable to strike a decisive victory against the Union Army.  Today, the cemetery retains its distinctive superintendent’s lodge and historic rubble-stone wall.

On June 30, 1862, Confederate troops led by Major General Benjamin Huger, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, and Lieutenant General A. P. Hill met Union forces retreating toward the James River after defeat at Gaines’ Mill.  During this Battle of Frayser’s Farm, Longstreet and Hill each broke through the Union ranks, capturing Brigadier General George McCall.  Nevertheless, a series of counterattacks by the Union resealed the line, allowing the retreat to continue, and providing Union Major General George B. McClellan time to establish a defensive position at nearby Malvern Hill.  Here McClellan withstood the Confederate assault before withdrawing his men to Harrison’s Landing along the James River.  Although the Battle of Frayser’s Farm was itself inconclusive, the Confederate Army missed an opportunity to divide the Union forces.  After a successful start, the Union’s Peninsula Campaign ultimately failed in its goal of capturing Richmond.

Glendale National Cemetery opened in May 1866 as a reinterment site for the Union casualties from Frayser’s Farm, Malvern Hill, and other sites from the surrounding area.  Purchased from Lucy C. Nelson, the cemetery takes its name from a farm once located on the site that served as a temporary Union headquarters during the war.  The cemetery closed to new interments in July 1970, and presently contains approximately 2,000 burials, nearly 1,000 of which are unknowns.

The site is square in shape, roughly 300 feet long on each side, and covers 2.1 acres.  Union Lieutenant Colonel John Moore designed the cemetery, creating a circular drive within the walls.  Grave markers were laid in concentric circles and divided into four sections by two intersecting avenues.  The need for more burial space led to the creation of new sections in three corners of the cemetery outside of the circular drive.  Eventually the walkways and all but the southwest quarter of the circular drive were converted to gravesites. 

Superintendent's Lodge
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration, History Program

The main entrance to the cemetery features a double gate on the eastern edge of the site, with one pedestrian gate adjacent.  Flanked on either side by limestone posts, these gates replaced the original cast-iron gates in 1950.  The rubble-stone wall that encircles the cemetery dates to 1875, while the superintendent’s lodge dates to 1874.  This lodge, which U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs designed, features a mansard roof, a common element of the Second Empire style.  On the western façade of the roof, a handful of light colored slate shingles spells out “US” against a background of dark gray shingles. 

While Glendale National Cemetery does not contain any monuments, it does have a flagpole located at the center of the site atop a small grassy mound. In front of the flagpole is a seacoast cannon planted upright on a concrete base with a cannonball in its mouth. Affixed to the gun is an 1874 shield plaque with the cemetery name, date of establishment and the number of known and unknown interments.

Glendale National Cemetery is the final resting place for a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, given for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Plan your visit

Glendale National Cemetery is located at 8301 Willis Church Rd., in Richmond, VA.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from dawn to dusk.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  The administrative office is located at the Hampton National Cemetery, in Hampton, VA, 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.

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

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

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