Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery, Alexandria

#12 of 15 in Historic Sites in Alexandria
Cemetery · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
The Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery at 1001 S. Washington St. in Alexandria, Virginia was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 15, 2012. It was established in February 1864 by the Union military commander of the Alexandria District for use as a cemetery for the burial of contrabands and freedmen. During early Reconstruction, it was operated by the Freedmen's Bureau. It was closed in late 1868, after Congress ended most operations of the Bureau. The last burial was made in January 1869.
The history was rediscovered in the late 20th century, and archeological techniques were used to identify its boundaries and burials. The land was acquired by the city and the cemetery re-established as a memorial in 2014.

Initially the Union Army buried soldiers of the United States Colored Troops here as well. But African-American troops in Alexandria's hospitals "demanded that blacks be given the honor of burial in the Soldiers' Cemetery, now Alexandria National Cemetery." In January 1865, the soldiers' remains were moved to the military cemetery.
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Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery reviews

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17 reviews
  • Provides a narrative for a forgotten story of slaves who'd fled the South during the Civil War and the shameful treatment of their deceased and redeems them with a beautiful and thought-provoking...  more »
  • This memorial is dedicated to the African-American men, women and children buried on the grounds in Union-occupied Alexandria. The main feature of the memorial is a sculpture called “The Path of...  more »
  • On a random walk noticed the Freedmans cemetary. It's an amazing piece of history and culture. Very happy that we saw this place. It's small but the history and reflection provided is worth a visit. They also have a listing of the people buried there and and nice little fact on if their descendants have been found.
  • It's a sobering reminder of the region's history. It's small but the information presented is well-done.

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