National Cemetery Administration
Fort Harrison National Cemetery
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Fort Harrison 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.
Situated in Henrico County, 7½ miles southeast of Richmond. The cemetery may be reached from U.S. Highway 60 turning south on Laburnum Avenue. From Laburnum Avenue turn left on Wilson Road. Wilson Road, after crossing New Market, becomes Varina Road. Follow Varina Road. for approximately two miles. Cemetery is on the right. Cemetery can also be reached from Interstate 64 by taking the Laburnum Avenue south exit and following directions as given above.
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.
Military Funeral Honors
Either the family or funeral director must make arrangements for military funeral honors.
Local numbers for Military Funeral Honors
U.S. Air Force - (757) 764-7181
U.S. Army - (703) 696-3237
U.S. Coast Guard - (757) 398-6390
U.S. Marine Corps - (717) 770-4524
U.S. Navy - (757) 322-2817
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.
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 Harrison National Cemetery is located in Henrico County, Va., seven miles south of Richmond. It is a small cemetery of 1.6 acres, which owes its existence to circumstances of the Civil War. After the Battle of Cold Harbor in the summer of 1864, which secured the Union’s northern front during its Richmond campaign, General Ulysses S. Grant marched southeast in an effort to cut off the Confederate troops. To prevent General Robert E. Lee from shifting troops around Richmond, the Union made a surprise attack on Fort Harrison, a strategic Confederate stronghold overlooking the James River. Union soldiers captured it on Sept. 29, 1864. Confederate attempts to retake Fort Harrison the next day were unsuccessful and the fort remained under Union control until the evacuation of Richmond in April 1865. During this period, it was temporarily renamed Fort Burnham in honor of Union General Hiram Burnham, who was killed at Chapin’s Farm during the federal attack on Fort Harrison.
At the end of the war, a site near Fort Harrison was appropriated for use as a cemetery. This national cemetery contains the original interments of Union soldiers who died on the battlefields of Forts Harrison, and Gilmer, and from some 40 locations within a five-mile area surrounding the cemetery. The number of unknown dead at Fort Harrison far exceeds the known dead. As of July 1876, 239 of 814 interments were known, while 575 were unknown, including four Confederate prisoners of war.
The cemetery remains a picturesque walled site with a standard, Victorian stone lodge. Fort Harrison National Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 10, 1995.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Private George A. Buchanan, (Civil War), Company G, 148th New York Infantry. At Chaplin's Farm, Va., Sept. 29,1864 (Section A, Grave 224).