Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park | CHATTANOOGA NATIONAL CEMETERY

Chattanooga National Cemetery

Chattanooga National Cemetery

The Chattanooga National Cemetery is located between Holtzclaw Avenue, Central Avenue, East Main Street, and East M. L. K Boulevard. Entrances are at Holtzclaw and Central Avenues. It is open dawn to dusk daily. The cemetery office is open from 8 AM to 4:30 PM during the week. At the office you can get a self-guided tour book that shows the points of interest. A 75-acre hill that slopes to 100 feet high makes up the burial grounds.

Civil War graves at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Civil War graves at Chattanooga National Cemetery

The cemetery is the idea of Union Major General George Thomas and was commissioned on December 25, 1863, to commemorate the fighting at Chattanooga. The site had also served as General Grant’s headquarters during the early days of the fighting. By 1870, the cemetery was the final resting place for 12,956 men who died during the Civil War, including over 4,000 unknown soldiers. Many of the dead were originally buried at other areas in the south. Since then, soldiers from all wars have been buried here.

The most notable graves are those of James Andrews and his “Raiders,” all executed by the Confederates as spies after a failed attempt to destroy southern railroads. All of the raiders who were in the army received the Medal of Honor. Andrews did not, as he was a civilian. The graves and memorial are close to the Holtzclaw Avenue entrance to the cemetery.

Andrews Raiders Memorial at the Chattanooga National Cemetery

Andrews Raiders Memorial at the Chattanooga National Cemetery

Andrew Raiders Memorial and the surrounding graves of the Raiders

Andrew Raiders Memorial and the surrounding graves of the Raiders

Grave of James Andrews, the namesake of Andrews Raiders, in the Chattanooga National Cemetery

Grave of James Andrews, the namesake of Andrews Raiders, in the Chattanooga National Cemetery

Raider Samuel Slavens, a Medal of Honor winner for his part in the attack on southern railways during the Civil War, in the Chattanooga National Cemetery

Raider Samuel Slavens, a Medal of Honor winner for his part in the attack on southern railways during the Civil War, in the Chattanooga National Cemetery

The cemetery is also home to one of five archways that serve as entrances to national cemeteries in the south, the others being at Arlington, Vicksburg, Nashville, and Marietta, Georgia.

Original entrance to the cemetery

Original entrance to the Chattanooga National Cemetery

At the very top of the hill are the U. S. Flag and the POW / MIA flag, as well as the relatively new Memorial Circle of Honor: monuments dedicated to various military sacrifices.

Chattanooga National Cemetery

Chattanooga National Cemetery

Memorial Circle of Honor at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Memorial Circle of Honor at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Memorial to the Merchant Marines at the Memorial Circle of Honor in Chattanooga National Cemetery

Memorial to the Merchant Marines at the Memorial Circle of Honor in Chattanooga National Cemetery

Roads run through the cemetery, and pull-out parking areas are scattered about. If you get out and walk around, plan to spend at least an hour at the cemetery. I spent 1.5 hours and took many photos. Much of this time came after I thought I was done, started my drive out, and saw more interesting sections.

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Last updated on July 1, 2024
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