ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Baton Rouge National Cemetery, Louisiana
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Baton Rouge National Cemetery, Louisiana
Baton Rouge National Cemetery
The graves of U.S. soldiers from many different wars
and years of service line the grounds of the
Baton Rouge National Cemetery in Louisiana.
Unknown U.S. Soldier
The Baton Rouge National
Cemetery contains the graves
of hundreds of Civil War
soldiers, many unknown.
Baton Rouge National Cemetery - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting Place of U.S. Soldiers
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: August 12, 2012
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Massachusetts Monument
The monument was placed in
1909 by the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts to honor its
Civil War dead.
Gen. Philemon Thomas
A veteran of the American
Revolution and War of 1812,
Thomas also commanded
the military of the Republic of
West Florida.
Military History in Louisiana
The Baton Rouge National Cemetery was
established in 1868 as a resting place for
Union soldiers killed in the area during the
Civil War.

The first graves at the cemetery site were
placed during the war itself. Although the city
first was held by Confederate forces, by 1862
it had fallen into Union hands. Federal
soldiers lived in camps throughout the area
and some died from illness. Others died on
August 5th of that year in the Battle of Baton

Resulting from a Confederate attempt to
retake the Louisiana capital, the
Battle of
Baton Rouge erupted when the Southern
forces of General (and former U.S. Vice
President) John C. Breckinridge attacked the
city. Union troops were positioned along the
elevated ground at the west end of what is
now Baton Rouge National Cemetery and
neighboring Magnolia Cemetery.

The battle was brief but incredibly bloody for
its size. By the time it was over, 84 Union
soldiers had been killed, 266 wounded and
33 captured or wounded. Confederate forces
reported similar losses of 84 killed, 315
wounded and 57 missing or captured.

The Union dead were interred on the ground
where the National Cemetery was
established five years later.

By the end of the Civil War, Union soldiers
who had died either in battle or from disease
were buried in small plots throughout the
area. The U.S. Government decided to
relocate these men to a new national
cemetery were their graves could be cared
for and easily located by their loved ones.

A rectangular parcel across Florida Avenue
from Magnolia Cemetery was designated as
Baton Rouge National Cemetery in 1867.
Contractors began work immediately to
locate the graves of Union dead in the area
and the bodies were relocated to the new

The grounds originally were enclosed by a
strong wooden fence, but in 1878 this barrier
was replaced with the solidly-built brick wall
seen today. The wall was built under the
supervision of Michael and Bernard Jodd.
Before they could complete their work,
however, both men died of fever and are now
buried in the cemetery they helped develop.

The cemetery contains a total of 2,936
graves, of which 494 contain the remains of
unknown U.S. soldiers. The cemetery is now
closed to new burials, although relatives of
soldiers may obtain permission to share
their burial space.

In Section 3 of the cemetery can be found the
grave of General Philemon Thomas. He was
a soldier of the American Revolution and War
of 1812 and is remembered in Louisiana as
the commander of the armed forces of the
short-lived Republic of West Florida. In 1810,
General Thomas led the successful capture
of Fort San Carlos in Baton Rouge by forces
of the Republic.

The general's grave is one of about twenty
that were moved to the national cemetery
from the old Post Cemetery in Baton Rouge.
Spanish-American War
Among the graves at Baton
Rouge National Cemetery is
that of Capt. James Fornance
who was killed at the Battle of
San Juan Hill in 1898.
Buried near General Thomas is a hero of
another war against the Spanish. Captain
James Fornance was killed at the Battle of
San Juan Hill during the Spanish American

Civil War soldiers, however, make up the
largest number of the burials at Baton Rouge
National Cemetery. In addition to men moved
from graves in and around the city, large
numbers of Union dead were also relocated
from Plaquemine, Louisiana, and Camden,
Arkansas. Some of the dead from the latter
place had died from wounds received at the
Battle of Poison Spring in 1864.

The largest monument on the grounds is the
Massachusetts Monument, which is over 100
years old. Erected in 1909, the granite oblisk
was placed by Massachusetts to honor
officers of the 31st and 41st Massachusetts
Infantry Regiments along with soldiers from
the commonwealth that gave their lives while
serving in the Department of the Gulf.

The cemetery today is beautifully maintained,
as is nearby
Port Hudson National Cemetery.

The main entrance is on 19th Street just
south of Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge.
The address is 220 North 19th Street.

The grounds are open daily from sunrise to
sunset and are free to visit.
Please click here
for more information.

A monument commemorating the Battle of
Baton Rouge can be seen across Florida
Boulevard in Magnolia Cemetery, which also
is open during daylight hours. Individual
headstones for some of the Confederates
killed in the fighting also can be seen there.

To learn more about Baton Rouge in the Civil
War, visit the
Old Arsenal Museum on the
capitol grounds..
Battle of Baton Rouge (1779)

Battle of Port Hudson

Baton Rouge National Cemetery

Magnolia Cemetery (Baton Rouge)

Old Arsenal Museum (Baton Rouge)

Old Louisiana State Capitol (Baton Rouge)

Pentagon Barracks (Baton Rouge)

Port Hudson National Cemetery

Republic of West Florida

The Day the War Stopped (St. Francisville)

USS Kidd Destroyer & Museum (Baton Rouge)