National Cemetery Administration
Cypress Hills National Cemetery
Visitation Hours: Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Cypress Hills 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.
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.
J.F. Kennedy International Airport to Cypress Hills National Cemetery. Total distance is approximately 10 miles. Take the Belt Parkway westbound to Exit 17W - North Conduit Avenue.
Continue west on North Conduit Avenue and it will merge into Atlantic Avenue. Shortly after the merge, turn right into Hale Avenue. (There is a Sunoco Gas Station on the corner of North Conduit Avenue and Hale Avenue). Continue on Hale Avenue to the end and Cypress Hills National Cemetery will be directly in front of you.
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.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
The Long Island National Cemetery manages this cemetery. You may contact the staff at the number listed above.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the early optimism of both the Union and Confederacy, by summer 1862, it was increasingly evident that the Civil War would be both long and costly. It was also apparent that additional burial grounds would be needed to accommodate the growing number of Union soldiers who died from battle injuries and disease.
While New York City and its outskirts were outside the area of military conflict, numerous hospitals were set up here to care for wounded Union troops. Cypress Hills began as a zone of the Interior Military Cemetery and was located within the boundaries of the large and private Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn. Almost three acres were set aside for the burial of Civil War dead in what became known as Union Grounds. In 1870, the Cypress Hills Cemetery Corporation deeded the property to the United States for a consideration of $9,600. An inspection report of September 1870 indicates that 3,170 Union soldiers and 461 Confederate POWs were already buried there. Most of the interments came from military hospitals in the area. There were also a number of reinterments from cemeteries on Long Island Sound and in Rhode Island.
Prior to 1873, eligibility for burial in a national cemetery was restricted to U.S. soldiers who died as a result of injury or disease during the Civil War. In 1873, however, Congress approved legislation extending burial rights to honorably discharged soldiers, sailors and Marines who served during the war. To accommodate the growing number of burials requested at Cypress Hills, more than 15 acres were purchased in 1884. In addition, in 1941, a small tract within the old Cypress Hills Cemetery, known as the Mount of Victory Plot, was donated by the State of New York. Today the cemetery consists of three parcels totaling a little over 18 acres: the Union grounds, a larger area on Jamaica Avenue, and the Mount of Victory. Although Cypress Hills was established to honor Civil War veterans, its grounds include the graves of soldiers who fought in the American Revolution, Spanish-American War, Korean and Vietnam wars. Cypress Hills National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Monuments and Memorials
The 12-foot granite French Cross monument was erected in memory of 25 French sailors who died while on duty in American waters during World War I. Of the sailors who died, 22 are buried in the cemetery and three were returned to France for burial.
The granite and bronze Second Division American Expeditionary Forces monument was erected near the cemetery’s rostrum.
The Eagle Monument was erected by laborers at Cypress Hill Cemetery about 1934. The stone eagle, with wings spread wide, was placed atop a stone pyramid erected by the Londino Construction Company, Bronx, N.Y., that same year.
The Ringgold Monument is a large obelisk that was erected by officers and soldiers who served under the command of Colonel Benjamin Ringgold.
The large, granite, British Navy Monument was erected in 1939 in memory of some British Revolutionary War soldiers whose remains were discovered in the 20th century and re-interred at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in 1909.
The 1881 Garfield memorial marks the former location of a commemorative oak tree that was planted in honor of President James A. Garfield, after he was assassinated. The James A. Garfield Oak Society, composed mostly of Germans residing in Eastern Brooklyn, sponsored the memorial tree.
Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
First Sergeant John Mapes Adams (Boxer Rebellion). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for actions near Tientsin, China, July 13, 1900. His alias was George Lawrence Day, and he was stationed in China, the Philippine Islands, and Panama. Adams died in 1921 and is buried in Section 2, Site 8262.
Sergeant Wilbur C. Colyer (World War I). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company A, First Engineers, First Division in recognition of actions near Verdun, France, October 9, 1918. Colyer was later killed in action on October 10. He is buried in Section 2, Site 8588.
Coxswain John Cooper (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor twice, first while serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Brooklyn during the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama, August 5, 1864; and second while serving as quartermaster on the staff of Acting Rear Admiral Henry Thatcher for actions during a fire on April 26, 1865. Cooper died in 1891 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5022.
Seaman Henry C. Courtney. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for his actions on board the U.S. training ship Portsmouth, February 7, 1882. Courtney died in 1887 and is buried in Section 6, Site 12222.
Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly (Boxer Rebellion; Haitian Campaign, 1915). He received the Medal of Honor twice, first while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the battle of Peking, China, August 14, 1900; and second while serving with the 15th Company at Fort Liberte, Republic of Haiti, October 24, 1915. Daly died in 1937 and is buried in Section 5, Site 70.
Private James J. Dougherty (1871 Korean Campaign). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for actions during the attack and capture of the Korean forts, June 11, 1871. Dougherty died in 1897 and is buried in Section 6, Site 12374.
Private Christopher Freemeyer (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company D, 5th U.S. Infantry, for actions at Cedar Creek, Montana Territory, from October 21, 1876, to January 8, 1877. Freemeyer died in 1894 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5259.
Sergeant Major Frederick W. Gerber (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during service in the U.S. Army, U.S. Engineers, throughout his 32-year career (1839–1871). Gerber died in 1875 and is buried in Section 2, Site 6101.
Sergeant Patrick Golden (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company B, 8th U.S. Cavalry, for actions in Arizona Territory, from August to October 1868. Golden died in 1872 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5499.
First Sergeant Edward P. Grimes (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company F, 5th U.S. Cavalry, for actions at Milk River, Colorado, from September 29 to October 5, 1879. Grimes died in 1913 and is buried in Section 2, Site 7210.
Sergeant Bernhard Jetter (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company K, 7th U.S. Calvary, for distinguished bravery during the Sioux Campaign, December 1890. Jetter died in 1927 and is buried in Section 5, Site 1.
Chief Water Tender Johannes J. Johannessen. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions on board the USS Iowa after the blowing out of a manhole cover on the vessel, January 25,1905. Johannessen died in 1915 and is buried in Section 2, Site 7425.
Landsman Edwin S. Martin (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions on board the USS Galena during the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama, August 5, 1864. His citation was awarded under the name of Edward S. Martin. Martin died in 1901 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5966.
Captain of the Foretop James McLeod was born in Glasgow, Scotland around 1836. The first records of his naval service are a May 1861 enlistment in Maine. He served on USS Colorado during the first year of the Civil War. He volunteered for service on USS Pensacola, part of Flag Officer David Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron, during the April 1862 Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip which resulted in the capture of New Orleans. On April 24 and 25 of the engagement, McLeod served as gun captain of Pensacola's exposed aft howitzer. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action. It was presented to him onboard USS Ino in New York in late May 1863. Service records indicate that McLeod rejoined the Navy after the Civil War and served for decades. His last assignment was Master-at-Arms of USS Newport in the Caribbean during the Spanish American War. Then, at approximately 60 years old, McLeod was stricken by consumption and sent to New York for medical attention on the hospital ship Solace. Newspaper accounts noted that he was "famous" in the fleet and had "eight service stripes." He died on June 5, 1898 and is buried in Section 7, Site 13069.
Lieutenant Mons Monssen. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions on board the USS Missouri during a fire, April 13, 1904. Monssen died in 1930 and is buried in Section OS, Site 190.
Sergeant John Nihill (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company F, 5th U.S. Cavalry, for actions in the Whetstone Mountains, Arizona Territory, July 13, 1872. Nihill died in 1908 and is buried in Section 2, Site 6640.
Quartermaster Third Class Anton Olsen (Spanish-American War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions on board the USS Marblehead in Cuba, May 11, 1898. Olsen died in 1924 and is buried in Section 2, Site 9158.
Private Henry Rodenburg (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company A, 5th U.S. Infantry, for actions at Cedar Creek, Montana Territory, &c., from October 21, 1876, to January 8, 1877. He died in 1899 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5825.
Sergeant Valentine Rossenback (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, 34th New York Battery, for actions at Spotsylvania, Virginia, May 12, 1864. His family name is sometimes spelled Rossback. He died in 1897 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5427.
Private John Schiller (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company E, 158th New York Infantry, for actions at Chapin’s Farm, Virginia, September 29, 1864. He died in 1926 and is buried in Section 5, Site 3.
Chief Water Tender Eugene P. Smith. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions after an explosion on board the USS Decatur, September 9, 1915. He died in 1918 and is buried in Section 2, Site 7742.
Chief Gunner's Mate Wilhelm Smith. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for the rescue of a shipmate on board the USS New York, January 24, 1916. Smith died in 1925 and is buried in Section 2, Site 9493.
Gunnery Sergeant Peter Stewart (Boxer Rebellion). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for meritorious conduct during the China Relief Expedition in June 1900. He died in 1914 and is buried in Section 2, Site 7303.
Seaman John Taylor was born in Virginia around 1835. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from Brooklyn in 1863 and served on board Pensacola, Sachem, and North Carolina during the Civil War. Following that conflict, he was assigned to the receiving ship Vermont in New York Harbor. On September 9, 1865, while in command of a picket boat in the harbor, Taylor rescued USN Commander Stephen D. Trenchard from drowning after he fell overboard in a ship collision. Taylor was awarded the Medal of Honor for this rescue. Taylor resigned from the Navy as a masters-mate in 1868, reenlisted in 1881, and served on Brooklyn as a master-at-arms until his discharge in 1884. He died in New York on January 4, 1904. His widow Abby applied for and received a widow's pension. He is buried in Section 2, Site 6173.
Private James Webb (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company F, 5th New York Infantry, for his actions at Bull Run, Virginia, August 30, 1862. He died in 1915 and is buried in Section 2, Site 7401.
Ordnance Sergeant Henry Wilkens (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company L, 2nd U.S. Cavalry, for actions at Little Muddy Creek, Montana Territory, May 7, 1877, and at Camas Meadows, Idaho Territory, August 20, 1877. Wilkens died in 1895 and is buried in Section 2, Site 5325.
Seaman Louis Williams. He twice received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Lackawanna, for the rescue of a shipmate from drowning in Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 16, 1883, and in Callao, Peru, on June 13, 1884. Williams died in 1886 and is buried in Section 6, Site 12616.
John Ammahaie (ca. 1830–1891) was born in Persia and raised in Afghanistan as Mohammed Kahn. He immigrated to the United States in 1861 and lived in New York before enlisting in the U.S. Army, 43rd New York Infantry, with whom he served until 1865. Private Ammahaie endured discrimination because he was not white. After the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, and separated from his regiment, Ammahaie was sent to Philadelphia to work with black men who escaped slavery because army officers did not believe he was part of a white regiment. Ammahaie managed to rejoin his unit at Spotsylvania, Virginia, in 1864 and had, in turn, to convince authorities he was not a deserter. After the war, he returned to New England to live and received a veterans' pension. Ammahaie died May 26, and is buried in Section 2, Site 5009.
Sergeant John Martin (born in Italy as Giovanni Martini), 90 Coast Artillery – Trumpeter, 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn 1876.
More than half of VA's national cemeteries originated with the Civil War and many are closed to some burials. Other sites were established to serve World War veterans and they continue to expand. Historic themes related with NCA's cemeteries and soldiers' lots vary, but visitors should understand "Why is it here?" NCA began by installing interpretive signs, or waysides, at more than 100 properties to observe the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015). Please follow the links below to see the interpretive signs for Cypress Hills National Cemetery.
- A National Cemetery System
- Cypress Hills National Cemetery
- Cypress Hills National Cemetery – Col. Benjamin Ringold
- Confederate Burials In The National Cemetery - New York City
Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.