New Bern National Cemetery is located in New Bern, Craven County, N.C. Founded in 1710, New Bern is the second-oldest city in the state, founded by German and Swiss adventurers whose commander was from city of the same name in Switzerland. Prior to the American Revolution, Royal Gov. William Tryon made this seaport his colonial capitol and commissioned the construction of Tryon Palace in 1770.
Although there was some dissension within the state regarding secession, North Carolina chose to leave the Union on May 20, 1861. Ultimately, it supplied more men and materials to the Confederate cause than any other southern state. It also suffered the largest number of losses. New Bern was captured early in the war. By August 1861, the Union army had secured the Pamlico Sound inlets after defeating the Confederate forces and taking Forts Clark and Hatteras. By winter 1862, Gen. A.E. Burnside and Commodore L.M. Goldsborough had seized the Confederate positions on Roanoke Island and New Berne (as it was originally spelled). Union control of the inner coastal position tightened the blockade of the North Carolina coast, but the state held out until April 26, 1865, when Gen. Joseph Johnston surrendered the last major Confederate army to Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham, N.C.
New Bern National Cemetery was officially established Feb. 1, 1867. Many of the burials at New Bern are reinterments of remains from the surrounding area, including Beaufort, Hatteras and locations along the coast. Over 1,000 unknowns are buried in a separate section.
New Bern National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Monuments and Memorials
The granite New Jersey Monument was erected by that state in 1905. It is dedicated to the memory of the 9th New Jersey Regiment Volunteer Infantry.
The Massachusetts Monument is a granite memorial erected by the commonwealth in 1908 in memory of Massachusetts’s soldiers and sailors who died in North Carolina during the Civil War.
The Connecticut Monument was erected by that state in 1908. The memorial was dedicated to the memory of Connecticut men who died of yellow fever during the Civil War, as well as those who fell in action by 1865.
The Rhode Island Monument is composed of a granite base topped by a bronze figure. Dedicated Oct. 6, 1909, it was donated by the state of Rhode Island in honor of its volunteers who died in North Carolina during the Civil War. The monument was designed and sculpted by William W. Manatt of Providence, R.I.