Fort Smith National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located at Garland Avenue and Sixth Street in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas. It encompasses, and as of the end of 2005, had 13,127 interments.Put Fort Smith National Cemetery on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Fort Smith online journey builder .
Fort Smith was a frontier fort first established in 1817, by Maj. William Bradford as a post to prevent hostilities between the Cherokees and the Osage. Despite the strategic importance of the post, the army closed it after a severe outbreak of disease which had taken the lives of several of the men stationed there by 1824. The initial interments were made in the area during this time.
In 1838, a new fort was constructed on the site, including an officer's quarters where General Zachary Taylor lived from 1841 until 1845. At this time, the original post cemetery was repaired, expanded, and improved.
On April 23, 1861, the start of the American Civil War, the post was abandoned by the forces that were there, and it was occupied by a Confederate garrison. During their occupation of the fort, nearly 400 Confederate soldiers were buried in the cemetery. The fort was retaken by Union forces on September 1, 1863. In 1867 the post cemetery officially became a National Cemetery and many of the nearby battlefield cemeteries had their remains re-interred there. The cemetery includes more than 1,400 unmarked graves, many of them of Union and Confederate soldiers.
Fort Smith National Cemetery Reviews
Outstanding military historical cemetery for 150 years with great history of Fort Smith as a strategic military post during the Civil War. more »
Sunday morning we spent time here before leaving the area. So we'll done and when we were here it was a glorious sunny morning.so glad we took the time more »
This stop can be quite dull if you just drive around and look at the tombstones. I recommend entering the visitors center prior to 4:30pm before they close and pick up the walking tour of the Fort Smith National Cemetery pamphlet. It's a very well written guide for 33 significant tombstones in the cemetery. It leads you to particular individuals grave sites and describes the historical significance of that individual. Some notables would be judge Isaac Parker, Brigadier General William O Darby, major William Bradford the founder of Fort Smith, Thomas Russell the first person laid to rest who was the surgeon of the original Fort Smith. The area of the Confederate soldiers, and the area of the black regiment soldiers. They're also beautiful War memorials to visit while you're here as well.
I have had the honor of participating in this cemetery’s “Wreaths Across America” event for the last two years. The community comes together to place a wreath at every tombstone during the Christmas season. It has been an honor and this cemetery truly honors the veterans and family members who are buried here.
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