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National Cemetery

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Salisbury National Cemetery

The National Cemetery was established in 1865 on the site of the burial place for Union soldiers who died while in the Salisbury Prison.  At the time the Prison was burying its dead in 18 trenches measuring about 240 feet long, at the southeast end of the cemetery. Inspector of cemeteries Colonel Oscar A. Mack, wrote in his report of 1870-71, “The bodies were placed one above the other, and mostly without coffins. From the number of bodies exhumed from a given space it was estimated that the number buried in these trenches was 11,700. The number of burials from the prison pen cannot be accurately known.” It is now thought that the estimate was high, but the figure will probably remain unknown. 

The cemetery was renamed the Salisbury National Cemetery after the war.  At that time, another 412 remains were relocated here from Lexington, Charlotte, Morganton, and other places.  In 1874, the cemetery was dedicated and a wall was built around the perimeter in 1875.  Headstones and a monument were in place by 1876.   In 1999, the cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Ultimately, Salisbury National Cemetery has become a burial place for veterans of all wars.


Brown, Louis A.The Salisbury Prison: a Case Study of Confederate Military Prisons, 1861-1865 Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1992

Salisbury National Cemetery