National Cemetery Administration
Fort Bayard National Cemetery
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial. For more information visit our eligibility web page.
From the El Paso International Airport, travel Interstate 10 west 101 miles to Deming. At Deming, take the Silver City exit to U.S. Highway 180 and continue north 49 miles to the State of New Mexico Hospital exit. Follow the signs to the cemetery.
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
This cemetery is under the direction of Santa Fe National Cemetery. Inquiries should be addressed to the Director of Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Santa Fe National Cemetery
P.O. Box 44
Santa Clara, NM 88026
Military Funeral Honors
The local Veterans Service Organizations in the area perform all military honors unless specifically requested from the branch of service in which the veteran has served. Please contact the cemetery office for further information.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing.
During the mowing season, April 15 through Oct. 15, all floral items will be removed from graves every Tuesday. Floral items should not be placed on the graves Tuesday through Thursday to allow for the maintenance of the gravesites. Artificial flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers. All items removed from gravesites will be disposed of immediately.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
Dogs and pets are not allowed in the National Cemetery unless they are licensed service dogs.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
Fort Bayard is located in southwestern New Mexico adjacent to the Gila National Forest. The site was chosen in 1863 for its springs and commanding view of the Apache war trails surrounding the nearby mining camps. In 1866, a permanent post was established here with the primary responsibility for protecting the Pinos Altos gold camp. The post was named Fort Bayard in honor of General G.D. Bayard, who died from wounds received during the Battle of Fredericksburg, and who had served in New Mexico and Arizona prior to the Civil War. The U.S. Army launched numerous attacks against the Apache from Fort Bayard during the 1870-80s, which ended only with the surrender of the Apache Chief Geronimo.
The first known interment at Fort Bayard was Sergeant David H. Boyd of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry, buried Oct. 10, 1866. In 1899, the Army deactivated Fort Bayard and established it as a tuberculosis hospital and research center. In 1922, the hospital was transferred to the Veterans Bureau, which became part of the new Veterans Administration in 1930. Fort Bayard Cemetery was established the same year, and became part of the National Cemetery System in 1973 when its administration was transferred from the Department of the Army to the Veterans Administration. In the 1990s, the state of New Mexico donated 3.95 acres to the cemetery.
Fort Bayard National Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 7, 2002.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Sergeant Alonzo Bowman (Indian Campaigns), Company D, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Wichita River, Texas, Oct. 5, 1870 (Section, A. Grave I-31).
Wagoner John Schnitzer (Indian Campaigns), Troop G, 4th U.S. Cavalry. Horseshoe Canyon, N.M., April 23, 1882 (Section AO, Grave 43).
One of the most important civilians buried at Fort Bayard is Walter Foote Sellers, author of the poem, "The Kneeling Nun". He was the stepson of retired Brigadier General Walter I. Duggan. On his headstone is engraved "Ah, Me, the World Seems Lonelier Today."
In the civilian section of the cemetery near the fence on the east side is also buried John William Richmond Kennedy, who died at St. Joseph's sanitarium, Silver City, New Mexico on March 14, 1914. He was the eldest son of the Honorable William Rann Kennedy, Knt. P.C. of England.
The first burial at the Post cemetery with positive identification was Sergeant David H. Boyd, Company M, 3rd U. S. Cavalry, Oct. 10, 1866. One other, who is recorded as an "Unknown," preceded it.