Historic National Cemetery and Confederate Prison Site, Salisbury

#2 of 15 in Things to do in Salisbury
Cemetery · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Salisbury National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in the city of Salisbury, in Rowan County, North Carolina. Its first interments were Union soldiers who died at a Confederate prisoner of war camp at the site during the American Civil War. Administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, it encompasses, in the original location and at the annex. As of 2012 it had 6500 interments (in 6000 standard graves, many of which also hold a spouse), plus an estimated 3,800 in 18 mass graves, at the original location and 5000, in 4500 graves, in the new location.
Salisbury PrisonIn May 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union and the Confederacy sought a site in Rowan County for a military prison. A twenty-year-old abandoned cotton mill near the railroad line was selected as the location. It was brick and three stories tall with an attic. Cottages and a stockade were later added. The number of prisoners increased from 120 in December 1861 to 1400 in May 1862. In the early part of the war, prisoners were well cared for and even indulged in baseball; recorded in a drawing by Maj. Otto Boetticher.
By October 1864 the prison held 5000, and 10,000 soon after that. The town of Salisbury had only 2000 residents, making it the fourth largest town in the state, and there was concern about the safety of those on the outside. Later when the prison became overcrowded and the death rate rose from 2% to 28%, mass graves were used to accommodate the dead.
A visit to Historic National Cemetery and Confederate Prison Site represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Salisbury trip itinerary tool to plot your vacation.
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Create an itinerary including Historic National Cemetery and Confederate Prison Site

Historic National Cemetery and Confederate Prison Site reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
76 reviews
  • The location was not easy to find. There is a cemetery annex behind the V.A. hospital which some websites list as the location. The historic cemetery contains a mass grave with over 11,000 unknown...  more »
  • Beautifully maintained. Easy to find graves with clear markings. Useful info machine for finding section and grave. Sections are clearly marked.  more »

Plan your trip to Salisbury

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.