National Cemetery Administration
Little Rock National Cemetery
Office Hours: Contact the Fort Smith National Cemetery at (479) 783-5345 Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk.
Little Rock National Cemetery is closed to new interments. The only interments that are being accepted are subsequent interments for veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite. Periodically however, burial space may become available due to a canceled reservation or when a disinterment has been completed. When either of these two scenarios occurs, the gravesite is made available to another eligible veteran on a first-come, first-served basis. Since there is no way to know in advance when a gravesite may become available, please contact the cemetery at the time of need to inquire whether space is available.
Cemetery is located in the southeast section of Little Rock. It may be reached from Interstate 30. Exit at Roosevelt Road, and travel east approximately three blocks. From Little Rock National Airport, travel Interstate 440 west to Springer Boulevard. Turn right, proceed approximately 3/4 mile 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 overseen by Fort Smith National Cemetery. Please contact this cemetery at the number listed above.
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.
Artificial flowers and potted plants will be permitted on graves during periods October 10 through April 15. As a general rule, artificial flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday, Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20.
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.
Permanent items removed from graves will be placed in an inconspicuous holding area for one month prior to disposal. Decorative items removed from graves remain the property of the donor but are under the custodianship of the cemetery. If not retrieved by the donor, they are then governed by the rules for disposal of federal property.
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.
Little Rock National Cemetery is located in Little Rock, Ark., approximately two miles southeast of the state capital. The first European visitor to this region was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto who, in 1541, first crossed the Mississippi into what would become Arkansas. Unable to locate the fabled city of gold, de Soto left the region and it was almost 200 years before French explorer Bernard de la Harpe brought new attention to area. In 1722, during his survey of the Arkansas River, Le Harpe named the river bluff La Petite Roch, or "the Little Rock." The area turned out to be a convenient point for crossing the Arkansas River and was near a Quapaw Indian settlement, so La Harpe established his trading post here. When Arkansas became a territory in 1819, the capital was located at Arkansas Post, a site downriver. Two years later it moved to the busy town of Little Rock. Little Rock was incorporated as a city in 1831 and became the capital in 1836 when Arkansas was admitted to the Union.
Although Arkansas had entered the Union as a slave state, its population was divided on the question of secession. In 1861, after officials refused to send troops to fight in the Union Army, a convention met and voted to secede from the Union, reversing an earlier decision. Following the Battle of Pea Ridge in 1862, Union forces captured Little Rock and held the city for the remainder of the war.
Early in the Civil War, the land that is currently the national cemetery was located outside city limits and was used for Union encampments. With Union troops still occupying the city in 1866, a portion of the new city cemetery was purchased by the government and set aside for military interments.
The government purchased the military plot in Little Rock City Cemetery as two parcels: 9.1 acres in September 1866 and 3.2 acres in April 1868. On April 9, 1868, it was designated a national cemetery with the stated purpose to concentrate remains of Union dead who had been buried throughout Arkansas. By this time, there were 5,425 interments: 3,092 known dead and 2,333 unknowns. In 1868, 1,482 remains removed from area battlefield graves were reinterred here.
In 1884, an 11-acre Confederate cemetery was established adjacent to the national cemetery. The remains of 640 Confederate soldiers were removed from Mt. Holly Cemetery in Little Rock and reburied here. In 1913, Congress authorized the Secretary of War to accept a deed from the City of Little Rock for the Confederate cemetery, with the restriction that only Confederate veterans could be interred on the newly acquired land. In 1938, this restriction was removed and the Confederate cemetery became the Confederate Section of Little Rock National Cemetery.
In 1990, the National Expansion Corp. purchased additional land from the adjoining Oakland Fraternal Cemetery and formally donated it to the United States for expansion of the national cemetery. In November 1999, the City of Little Rock donated one additional acre. Little Rock National Cemetery, encompassing a little over 31 acres, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Monuments and Memorials
The granite and bronze Minnesota Monument was dedicated to 162 Minnesota soldiers who fell in Arkansas during the Civil War. Erected in 1916, it is one of seven Minnesota monuments found in the national cemeteries. The memorialized soldiers were enlisted in the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota U.S. Volunteers. The sculptor was John K. Daniels of St. Paul, Minn. Other Minnesota monuments are located at Marion, Ind. (1913); Memphis (1916), Nashville (1920) and Shiloh (1908) Tenn.; Jefferson Barracks, Mo. (1922); and Vicksburg, Miss. (1906-07). Daniels also did the monuments at Nashville and Shiloh national cemeteries.
The marble Confederate Monument was erected in 1884 by trustees of the Mount Holly Cemetery in honor of the 640 Confederate soldiers originally buried in this cemetery and later re-interred in Little Rock National Cemetery. The soldiers died in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, and Louisiana between1861-1863.
As a significant sculpture of the post-Civil War period (1886-1934) in Arkansas, both monuments were individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Lieutenant Maurice L. Britt, (World War II) U.S. Army, 3rd Infantry Division. North of Mignano, Italy, Nov. 10, 1943 (Section 20, Grave 319).
Simon A. Haley, father of Alex Haley the author of "Roots," is buried in section 16 of the national cemetery.