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.
If you are unable to reach Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, please call Camp Nelson National Cemetery at 859-885-5727, and someone will assist you.
Zachary Taylor 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.
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Zachary Taylor National Cemetery is located in Jefferson County, Ky., in northeast Louisville. The cemetery was established in 1928 by an act of Congress initiated by the Taylor family to have the government take title to the family burial site where President Zachary Taylor was interred. Two donations of land from the state of Kentucky increased the original half-acre Taylor plot to the national cemetery’s present size of 16 acres. Although the Taylor family plot, which includes a tomb and mausoleum, is encompassed within the walled cemetery, it does not belong to the United States. Despite the best efforts of the Taylor family, the Army judge advocate general decided against federal possession. The Taylor family burial ground is, however, cared for and maintained by the National Cemetery Administration.
Before his tenure as president, Zachary Taylor was the most popular man in America, a hero of the Mexican-American War. He was born November 24, 1784, to a wealthy planter family. By 1800 his family owned 10,000 acres in Kentucky and a number of slaves. In 1808, he received his first commission as commander of the garrison at Fort Pickering, the site of what is now Memphis, Tenn. From there he transferred from one frontier post to another. In 1810, he married Margaret Mackall Smith, daughter of a prominent Maryland family. She followed him from post to post as their four daughters were born. Taylor won fame as an "Indian fighter" on the frontier. The family finally settled in Louisiana, where Taylor assumed command of the fort at Baton Rouge.
In 1845 Texas was granted statehood. Mexico disputed lands along the new state border, and President James K. Polk ordered Taylor and his troops into the contested area. After winning two decisive encounters, Taylor triumphed over overwhelming odds in a battle against the Mexican Gen. Santa Anna at Buena Vista. "Old Rough and Ready" as Taylor was known, became a national hero.
After his victory, clubs sprang to support his presidential candidacy. By then, Taylor was a wealthy slave-owner and the South hoped he would support states' rights and the expansion of slavery into the new areas won from Mexico. The North pointed to his service on the nation's behalf and hoped he would side with the Union. At its 1848 nominating convention, the Whigs named Taylor a candidate for president, and he won the election that November. On July 4, 1850, after attending celebrations in Washington, Taylor contracted a virulent stomach ailment that may have been cholera or typhoid fever, and he died five days later. More than 100,000 people lined the funeral route to see their hero laid to rest.
The president's remains, and those of his wife, who died in 1852, were initially interred in the Taylor family burying ground. In 1883, the state of Kentucky erected a granite shaft surmounted by a life-size figure of Taylor. The United States erected a new limestone neoclassical-style building with a marble interior 43 years later. Over double glass-paneled bronze doors is the inscription "1784 Zachary Taylor 1850." Each year on Nov. 24-Taylor's birth date-military personnel from Fort Knox conduct a wreath-laying ceremony there. Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Monuments and Memorials
A 50-foot granite monument topped with the life-size figure of former president Zachary Taylor was erected by the state of Kentucky in 1883. Taylor died July 9, 1850.
A memorial sundial was installed in 1930.
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Medal of Honor Recipients
Sergeant Willie Sandlin (World War I), U.S. Army, Company A, 132nd Infantry. Bois De Forges, France, Sept. 26, 1918 (Section E, Grave 10-A).
Sergeant John C. Squires (World War II), U.S. Army, Company A, 30th Infantry. Padiglione, Italy, April 23, 1944 (Section A, Grave 1359).
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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 when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance. 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 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.
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.
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