National Cemetery Administration
San Antonio National Cemetery
Office Hours: Contact Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at (210) 820-3891.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
This cemetery has space available for cremated remains. We may be able to accommodate casketed remains in the same gravesite of previously interred family members.
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.
The cemetery is located in the eastern section of San Antonio. From Interstate 37, take Commerce exit east and proceed to S. New Braunfels. Turn left and travel one block to Paso Hondo. Travel approximately ½ mile to the cemetery on your right.
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 was accepted for listing in the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 22, 1999.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Fresh cut flowers are permitted on graves year round. Flowers may be removed to facilitate cemetery operations such as lawn mowing and grounds maintenance.
Flower pick-up dates are posted on “Next Flower Pick-Up” signs posted at cemetery entrances. During flower pick-up dates, all items will be removed from graves and will not be retained. Persons who placed items on graves may recover those items from their loved one’s gravesites prior to the scheduled pick-up dates.
February - no pickup
Artificial flowers and potted plants will be permitted on graves during the period Oct. 10-April 15. 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.
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.
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.
San Antonio National Cemetery is located in Bexar County, Texas. The Spanish first explored this region in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The town grew out of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, which was founded in 1718 and the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, which became the capital of Spanish Texas in 1773. By 1778, the settlement had a population of more than 2,000, including Native Americans at the San Antonio de Valero Mission. Despite its status as a colonial capital, most visitors described the town as "miserable." Prominent factions in San Antonio aligned itself with Hidalgo’s forces in the fight for Mexican independence. A number of Spanish government officials were subsequently captured and detained. Their victory, however, was short lived. After only one month, Royalist forces recaptured the city, killing and wounding much of San Antonio’s population in the process.
During the Texas Revolution, 1835-36, San Antonio was the site of several battles, including the siege of Bexar (December 1835) and the battle of the Alamo (March 6, 1836). With the establishment of the Republic of Texas in December 1836, Bexar County was organized and San Antonio was chartered as its seat. After Texas entered the Union in 1845, San Antonio experienced a period of rapid growth, as the city became a servicing and distribution center for the western settlement of the United States: a population of 3,488 in 1850 skyrocketed to 8,235 in 10 years. In 1861, local militia forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio even before the state seceded on March 2, and San Antonio served out the Civil War as a Confederate depot.
The original national cemetery site, which was part of San Antonio’s burying ground, was donated to the U.S. government by the city in 1867. The original deed was lost and the transfer never recorded, however. The city executed a new deed April 14, 1871, conveying approximately 1.89 acres of land to the United States. The first interments at San Antonio were the remains of Union soldiers removed from the city cemetery and outlying areas. Subsequent burials included unknown who had died on the western frontier. A total of 314 unknowns are buried in a common grave in Section H, marked with a monument inscribed “To the Unknown Dead.”
San Antonio National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Monuments and Memorials
A monument dedicated to the Unknown Dead was erected at San Antonio National Cemetery by the U.S. government in 1912.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Texan David Bennes Barkley served in Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division, U.S. Army during World War I. On November 9, 1918, Pvt. Barkley volunteered to swim across the Meuse River to reconnoiter the enemy’s location, but on his return he drowned. Pvt. Barkley received the Medal of Honor in 1919 and his remains were on view at the Alamo in 1921. It was only in 1989 that Barkley was recognized as the first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient. (Section G, Site 1302).
Private Frederick Deetline (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company D, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Little Big Horn, Mont., June 25, 1876 (Section G, Grave 921).
Private John Harrington (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company H, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Wichita River, Texas, Sept. 12, 1874 (Section F, Grave 1012).
Sergeant Henry Falcott (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company L, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Arizona, August-October 1868 (Section F, Grave 918).
Sergeant James Howard (Civil War), Co. K, 158th New York Infantry. At Battery Gregg, near Petersburg, Virginia, April 2, 1865 (Section E, Grave 889).
Corporal Henry A. McMasters (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company A, 4th U.S. Cavalry. Red River, Texas, Sept. 29, 1872 (Section D, Grave 729).
Private James J. Nash (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company F, 10th U.S. Infantry. Santiago, Cuba, July 1, 1898 (Section T, Grave 1461-A).
Private Solon D. Neal (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company L, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section G, Grave 1323).
Private Simon Suhler (cited while serving under the alias of Charles Gardner), (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company B, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Arizona, August-October 1868 (Section I, Grave 1610).
First Lieutenant Lewis Warrington (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, 4th U.S. Cavalry. Muchague Valley, Texas, Dec. 8, 1874 (Section A, Grave 60).
Four Medal of Honor recipients are buried in this cemetery as unknowns and are memorialized in the Memorial section. They are:
Private William H. Barnes (Civil War), U.S. Army, Company C, 38th U.S. Colored Troops. Chapins Farm, Virginia, Sept. 29, 1864 (Section MA, Grave 86).
Private George W. Smith (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company M, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Wichita River, Texas, Sept. 12, 1874 (Section MA, Grave 87).
Corporal John J. Given (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Wichita River, Texas, July 12, 1870 (Section MA, Grave 88).
Sergeant William DeArmond (Indian Wars), U.S. Army, Company I, 5th U.S. Infantry. Upper Washita, Texas, Sept. 9-11, 1874 (Section MA, Grave 89).
There are 281 identified Buffalo soldiers interred here.
Second Lieutenant George E. M. Kelly (Section A, Grave 117-A), for whom Kelly Air Force Base was named. Lt. Kelly was killed in 1911 at Fort Sam Houston, the second U.S. Army aviator to lose his life in a military airplane accident.
Corporal Harry M. Wurzbach (Section J, Grave 274), a five-term U.S. congressman from San Antonio. One of the major thoroughfares of the city is named for him.
Gustav Schleicher (Section A, Grave 140), a German-born immigrant who became a Texas state representative and senator and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Brigadier General John L. Bullis (Section A, Grave 174), for whom Camp Bullis, Texas was named. He retired in 1905, the day after he was promoted to brigadier general.
Friday Bowlegs and several other Indian scouts are buried in Section F.
Friday Bowlegs, a Seminole and native of Florida, served as an Indian Scout in the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. He was identified as having African-American heritage as well as American Indian, yet little else is known about him. Bowlegs died on July 16, 1902 (Section F, Grave 1054).
Twelve Chinese civilian employees of the Quartermaster Corps are buried in Section H. Five of them are listed both as Chinese refugees and as Quartermaster employees. They accompanied the American Expeditionary Forces commanded by General John J. Pershing out of Mexico.
Educational content is being developed for this national cemetery. New materials will be posted when the information becomes available. For additional information on the Veterans Legacy Program or the NCA History Program, please visit the web page for the Veterans Legacy Program and the NCA History page. Thank you for your interest in learning about the National Cemetery Administration.