Mobile National Cemetery - Mobile, Alabama
|Mobile National Cemetery
This section of earthwork at Mobile National
Cemetery is virtually all that remains of the extensive
Confederate fortifications of Mobile, Alabama.
Mobile National Cemetery
Among the heroes buried at
Mobile are soldiers of the
War of 1812, Civil War and 13
Chappo, an Apache Warrior
A son of the noted Apache
war chief Geronimo is one of
13 Apache buried at Mobile
Mobile National Cemetery - Mobile, Alabama
Reminder of the Cost of War
|Copyright 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: May 11, 2014
Battles for Mobile, Alabama
Union & Confederate Dead
The cemetery is the resting
place of 841 Union soldiers
and civilian employees from
the War Between the States.
Four Confederates also rest
Mobile National Cemetery is the final resting
place for thousands of American soldiers
and sailors. Maintained under the direction of
the National Cemetery Administration, it was
established in 1865.
The cemetery is located at 1202 Virginia
Street in Mobile, Alabama. It adjoins the city's
historic Magnolia Cemetery.
The national cemetery was created to provide
a permanent burial ground for Union soldiers
and U.S. Army civilian employees that fell
during the battles fought for control of Mobile
during the War Between the States (or Civil
War). Among these were the Battle of Mobile
Bay, Battle of Spanish Fort, Battle of Fort
Blakeley and the sieges of Fort Gaines and
Soldiers were originally buried at the places
they fell or in cemeteries associated with
Union hospitals. Those who died after the
capture of Mobile in April 1865 were interred
in the Potter's Field area of the city's Magnolia
Cemetery. This was an area commonly
reserved for the burial of those without
After the war came to an end, however, plans
went forward for a permanent burial ground
for U.S. soldiers and sailors at Mobile. The
city provided three acres for the project. Plans
were drawn and crews began the laborious
task of locating and exhuming the graves of
Union dead for reburial in the new national
The work was difficult and often gruesome. In
fact, newspapers across the nation reported
a bizarre event that took place as Union dead
were being moved to the cemetery:
The Mobile Advertiser says that whilst some
laborers were exhuming bodies in the
Potter's Field, they came upon the body of a
federal soldier, perfectly petrified, and as
natural as life. Those who saw it, say it was
solid stone throughout. The ground was low
and damp where it had lain. - Columbian
Register, September 1, 1866.
No explanation of the strange "petrification"
was ever given.
In addition to the Union dead buried at battle
and hospital sites in the region, the crews
also exhumed the dead from the military
cemeteries associated with Fort Conde (Fort
Charlotte), Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan.
The latter burial ground included the graves
of men who had died defending Fort Bowyer
from British attack during the War of 1812.
Although four Confederates are buried at
Mobile National Cemetery, the government
did not concern itself with Southern dead
during the years after the War Between the
States. Local citizens took this task upon
themselves and found as many graves of
Confederate soldiers as possible. These
were relocated to a special area of Magnolia
Cemetery where a monument was erected in
A total of 841 Union dead from the war were
buried at Mobile National Cemetery. Of this
number, 112 could not be identified.
Cemetery records indicate that 78 of the
Union soldiers were African American These
men had served in 10 different regiments
and were heavily engaged in the storming of
Redoubt Number 4 at Blakeley as well as
other actions in the area.
The cemetery was enclosed by a brick wall in
1868. The lodge for its superintendent and
his family was completed in 1880. It is one of
few in the country that still preserves the
original design of General Montgomery C.
Meigs. It is a landmark in its own right.
Just northeast of the Superintendent's Lodge
is a monument to the soldiers from the 76th
Illinois Infantry who were killed in the Battle of
Fort Blakeley. It was erected by the veterans
of their regiment in 1892.
Closer to the lodge are a series of unique
monuments that honor the dead - both Union
and Confederate - from a series of actions
that include the Battle of Mobile Bay. One of
these honors Lieutenant George Dixon and
the crew of the Confederate submarine H.L.
The Hunley was built in Mobile and put
through its initial trials there. Later moved to
Charleston, it carried out the first successful
submarine attack on an enemy warship and
is now on display in that city.
The original three-acre part of Mobile
National Cemetery neared capacity after
World War I. The government then bought
more land across Virginia Street in 1936 to
allow for more burials.
On this property was one of the few surviving
sections of the Confederate earthworks that
had protected Mobile through the War
Between the States. The fortification was
preserved through the efforts of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and
can still be seen today.
Among the graves of note at Mobile National
Cemetery are those of 13 of the 396 Apache
Indian captives held at Mt. Vernon Barracks
(Mt. Vernon Arsenal) north of Mobile in 1887-
1905. Grave 621-B in Section 1 contains the
remains of Chappo, a son of the famed
Apache chief Geronimo.
Mobile National Cemetery is located at 1202
Virginia Street in Mobile, Alabama. Sections
are located on both sides of the street.
The cemetery is open to visitors Monday -
Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on
weekends and Federal holidays (except for
Memorial Day). There is no fee to visit.
New burials are no longer being accepted at
the cemetery except for veterans and family
members in an existing gravesite.
Please click here to visit the official website
for more information.
A monument to Lt. George
Dixon and the men of the
Confederate submarine H.L.
Hunley is in the cemetery. The
Hunley was built in Mobile.