Chalmette National Cemetery

Also known as Monument Cemetery
8606 West St. Bernard Highway, Chalmette, LA
Date of Burials: 1864 – 2003
Open to Public, Closed for Burials
Link: Find A Grave

The Chalmette National Cemetery was established in 1864 to bury the Union Soliders who died in Louisiana. (The British soldiers were not buried here- there are no actual records, but most think they were buried in a mass grave near the Villere Plantation.) It grew to contain veterans of the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War.

The land was purchased by the government in 1862 and the cemetery started in May 1864. In 1867, the cemetery moved out all the civilian bodies to the nearby Freedmen’s Cemetery. In 1868, they began to move troops buried in Cypress Grove, Ship Island Cemetery, Forts McComb, Pike and Jackson to the cemetery, then called Monument Cemetery. And the last major move, was the Ladies of the Benevolent Association of New Orleans moving the confederate dead to a mass grave in the now defunct Cypress Grove #2.

An article in the The St. Bernard Voice from 1894 talked about “no pain being spared to make it attractive”. The article closed with a stanza from Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara.

Yon marble minstrel’s voiceless stone
In deathless songs shall tell,
When many a vanished age hath flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, or winter’s blight
Not Time’s remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of holy light
That gilds your glorious tomb.

In 1910, the cemetery switched its entrance from the river side to the road side, where it still stands. The flood of 1927 warranted a move of 500-some graves and the caretakers house to the road side.

This photo is from 1910 by Detroit Publishing Co.

In 2003, when the cemetery closed to new burials, it ended with 14,159 headstones and approximately 16,000 burials.