Established out of necessity during the Civil War, national cemeteries have evolved from simple burial grounds to national memorials honoring all those who serve. A new online Civil War Era National Cemeteries travel itinerary,developed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is now available at www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/. The itinerary commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by tracing the history and importance of the 116 national cemeteries created before 1870.
Maps, information and essays, including one by Harvard University President Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, provide insight into the history and role of military cemeteries. The first national cemeteries were started in 1862; a year after the Civil War began. Although first set aside only for those killed in battle, by 1873 any Union veteran of the war could receive burial in a national cemetery.
Source: National Park Service