To schedule a burial: 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.
All visitors are required to enter the Rock Island Arsenal over the Moline Bridge, which is accessed from 14th Street, Moline, IL.
Military Funeral Honors
Military Funeral Honors may be obtained through the local funeral director and are provided by various veterans' service organizations in any of the Quad-Cities. Organizations such as The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars generally provide the honors at Rock Island National Cemetery.
back to top
Rock Island National Cemetery was established within the confines of the U.S. Arsenal located on Rock Island in the Mississippi River near the cities of Davenport, Iowa, and Moline, Ill. In 1863 an area was set aside to bury Union soldiers who died while serving as guards at the large Confederate prison camp established on Rock Island by the U.S. government.
In 1868, the inspector of national cemeteries reported that the Rock Island cemetery contained 136 remains, including seven unknowns and six women and children. He described it as rectangle of 216 feet by 96 feet, enclosed with a “paling fence.” At the time, the arsenal’s commanding officer, General Thomas Rodman, indicated that the location of the burial area would ultimately conflict with his plans for extending arsenal-complex buildings. He recommended the remains of individuals currently interred at Rock Island be moved to the upper end of the island; the inspector of national cemeteries further suggested that Civil War decedents interred in Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, Iowa, be removed to the new site on Rock Island, as well. Subsequent property transfers from the Rock Island Arsenal Reservation in 1926, 1936 and 1950 brought the national cemetery to its present 31.5 acres.
Today, Rock Island is the final resting place of soldiers who served in the Civil War, as well as the Mexican War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq.
Rock Island Confederate Cemetery
Between 1863 and 1865, the federal government established a second cemetery of a little more than two acres for the burial of Confederate prisoners of war. Approximately 1,950 soldiers died at the Rock Island Confederate Prison, founded there in 1863. The first POWs, captured during the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in Tennessee in November 1863, arrived in December. Throughout the war, Confederates were brought to Rock Island from battle areas throughout the South; eventually, more than 12,000 POWs were confined there. Prisoners died from a variety of causes, including exposure to the cold, harsh winters, malnutrition and diseases such as smallpox.
back to top
Medal of Honor Recipients
Private First Class Edward J. Moskala (World War II), U.S. Army, Company C, 383rd Infantry Division. Kakazu Ridge, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 9, 1945 (Section E, Grave 293).
Private First Class Frank Peter Witek (World War II), 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. Battle of Finegayen at Guam, Mariana’s, Aug. 3, 1944 (Section E, Grave 72).
back to top
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. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing.
Flowers and containers: Fresh cut flowers may be placed on the gravesite at any time. Temporary flower containers are provided for your convenience and are the property of the cemetery. Please do not remove these containers from the cemetery grounds. Under no circumstances will items be tied, wired, glued, or otherwise attached to the headstone or marker. Permanent flower containers are no longer permitted.
Artificial flowers: Artificial flowers will be permitted on the gravesite during the period Oct. 10 through April 15. Christmas Decorations, wreaths, grave blankets (no larger than three feet by five feet), etc., are permitted from Thanksgiving through March 1. Decorations removed from the gravesites will be discarded 30 days after the pick up date.
Potted plants: While they are not suggested, because of damage to the grass, live potted plants will be permitted on the gravesite for a period of 10 days beginning the Thursday before Easter and Memorial Day. It is recommended that the family remove potted plants as soon as possible to minimize damage to the grass and/or headstone/marker.
Unauthorized decorations: The following items are not permitted on the gravesite: Potted plants (except as above), statues, permanent plantings, vigil lights, breakable items (i.e., glass/ceramic vases), balloons, toys, stuffed animals, shepherd's hooks or similar devices, U. S. Flags (except on Memorial Day weekend), other similar commemorative items or markers, and items degrading to the country.
Perpetual care: Guidelines provide for grounds maintenance, cutting the grass and trimming around the headstones/markers, and all areas of the cemetery on a weekly basis. This includes the removal and disposal of unauthorized grave decorations and artificial arrangements (except during periods specified above). Fresh cut floral arrangements will be removed from the gravesite and disposed of by cemetery personnel when they become withered, faded, or otherwise unsightly. Any decorations or floral items that have been displaced from the gravesites, due to wind or other factors out of our control, will be removed from the graves, held for 30 days and disposed of by cemetery personnel.
back to top