Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Secrets of Southeast Kansas: Fort Scott National Cemetery

The Fort Scott National Cemetery is among the 12 original national cemeteries. First used in the 1840’s as the burial ground for soldiers from the Fort Scott garrison, in 1861 the site became a community cemetery known as the Presbyterian Graveyard. When President Abraham Lincoln established the United States National Cemeteries in 1862, the Presbyterian Graveyard and an adjoining tract of land became National Cemetery No. 1.

A walk through row upon row of white marble headstones yields the names of thousands of veterans who served in the Civil and Indian wars through both world wars and more recent conflicts. Kansas poet Eugene Ware, who was born in Connecticut but moved to Fort Scott and served in the 7th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War, is buried in Grave 1. Sixteen Native American soldiers who were scouts in the Indian Regiments of the Union Army are interred at Fort Scott. A granite monument has been erected in honor of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry stationed at Fort Scott during the Civil War. The national cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fort Scott National Cemetery is located off U.S. 69 at Fort Scott, on East National Avenue. It is open to the public between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cemetery is closed on federal holidays with the exception of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Visitation hours are dawn to dusk each day.

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