Magazine article VFW Magazine

ARLINGTON AT 150 Fast Facts

Magazine article VFW Magazine

ARLINGTON AT 150 Fast Facts

Article excerpt

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. To commemorate that important milestone, we offer some historical highlights of the "nation's cemetery."


May 13,1864: Pvt. William Henry Christman of G Co., 67th Pa. Vol. Inf. Regt., is the first soldier buried in what becomes Arlington National Cemetery. He had enlisted on March 25,1864, for a $60 bounty. Hospitalized for the measles in Lincoln U.S. Army General Hospital on Capitol Hill, Christman dies from peritonitis, an abdominal cavity infection, on May 11 having never seen combat. He lies in Section 27, originally the Lee Rose Garden near the LeeCurtis Mansion.

June 15,1864: Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signs the official order establishing Arlington National Cemetery. Union Army Quartermaster Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs had proposed that 200 acres at Arlington be taken for a military cemetery.

September 1866: The Civil War Unknowns Monument is dedicated. The vault contains the remains of 2,111 soldiers.

May 30,1868: The first Grand Army of the Republic (Union vet group) Memorial Day services are held in Arlington.

1873: Congress approves free white marble markers for each veteran buried there.

1874: The Old Amphitheater is dedicated. It is used for Union Army veteran reunions.

May 14,1883: Arlington becomes an official national cemetery when the deed to the property is legally recorded.

1892: With the transfer of the first Revolutionary War vet's remains to the cemetery, Arlington ceases to be a purely Civil War burial ground. …

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