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Cemetery

Fort Smith National Cemetery

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Arkansas

522 Garland Avenue and South 6th Street
Fort Smith, AR 72901, USA

Website: www.cem.va.gov/CEM/cems/nchp/ftsmith

Fort Smith National Cemetery is a burial place for members of both the Union and Confederate armies, including three generals and 1,500 unknown soldiers. On April 23, 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, Fort Smith was evacuated and Confederate forces occupied the garrison. By May of that year, the Arkansas legislature had ceded the fort to the Confederate States of America. During the War Between the States more than 400 Confederate soldiers were buried at Fort Smith, including Generals James B. McIntosh and Alexander E. Steen. On Sept. 1, 1863, Union troops were able to retake Fort Smith and it remained in Union hands for the rest of the war. In 1867, the old post burial ground was elevated to a national cemetery consisting of about five acres enclosed by a white-washed fence. Many military dead were removed from battlefields and private cemeteries and reinterred here. So many, in fact, that when the Fort Smith military reservation closed in 1871, President Grant ordered that Fort Smith National Cemetery be reactivated by the War Department and remain open for the purpose of future military burials.