Florence National Cemetery
Historic burial area at Florence National Cemetery.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays.
Visitation Hours: Open daily during daylight hours.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
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 one mile east of Florence Regional Airport. From the airport, turn left onto Palmetto Road. Turn left onto McCall Blvd. Turn right on National Cemetery Road. The cemetery is one mile on your left. The administration office and historical side of the cemetery are located one mile on your right; however the kiosk and newer expansion side of the cemetery are located one mile on your left at Stockade Drive.
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 Florence National Cemetery expanded across the street from 803 National Cemetery Road in the early 1980's. The new expansion for additional burial space is complete. Two additional sections (section 21 & 22) and a columbarium have been added. The utilization of the preset crypts allows the national cemetery to provide almost double the amount of burials than in a traditional casket section.
To contact the Minority Veteran Coordinator, call: (843) 669-8783.
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 the period from Oct. 10 through April 15. 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.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, balloons, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. No item or object, including floral items, may be attached to a headstone or marker in a National Cemetery. 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.
Florence National Cemetery is located in Florence County in the city of Florence, S.C.
The land for Florence National Cemetery was appropriated, and later purchased, from the estate of a local resident about a quarter-mile from the POW camp. Original interments were made in two separate burial grounds, one containing 416 remains and the other approximately 2,322 remains. Interments at the larger site were made in 16 trenches; in 1865, this site was designated a national cemetery and the remains from the smaller burial ground were dug up and reinterred there. Remains were also disinterred from the surrounding region of Darlington, Cheraw and the Marion Districts and transferred to Florence National Cemetery. The wooden headboards marking the trench graves were replaced by 2,167 marble "unknown" head blocks measuring 6 x 6 inches square and set approximately six inches apart. In 1955, all but five of these markers were replaced with 32 upright marble headstones at each end of the trenches.
Florence National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Monuments and Memorials
A carillon was donated by the American Veterans as part of their international living memorial program, which began shortly after World War II.
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:
Chief Boatswain’s Mate James Elliott Williams (Vietnam). James Elliott Williams, a native of South Carolina, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1947, and retired in 1967 as one of the most highly decorated sailors in U.S. Navy history, having received the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Navy and Marine Corps Medal among other commendations. Williams received the Medal of Honor in 1968 for actions in the Mekong Delta, Republic of Vietnam. On October 31, 1966, Williams’s patrol was attacked and during the three-hour battle, he exposed himself to the enemy to direct the counter-fire. Williams’s patrol took out 65 enemy boats and, that day, defeated guerilla forces. He died October 13, 1999, and is buried in Section F, Site 177.
Florena Budwin was the bride of a captain from Pennsylvania. After Captain Budwin joined the federal forces, his bride disguised herself as a man and donned a uniform, hoping to find her husband. She was captured near Charleston, S.C., in 1864 and sent to Florence in the autumn of that year. After arriving at the stockade with thousands of other Union troops, she took sick as the rations were meager and medical supplies scarce. While the camp physician was making a routine examination, he found that one of his patients was a woman. She was moved to separate quarters and given food and clothing by the sympathetic women of Florence. When she recovered, she told a most remarkable story of how she had donned a federal uniform so as to serve by the side of her husband, that her husband has been killed, and that she was captured. After Florena grew strong, she stayed on at the prison as a nurse, and her devotion for her husband was bestowed on the hundreds of soldiers who were suffering from lack of food and medicine. A few months later, she fell sick a second time and did not recover. She died on Jan. 25, 1865 (Section D, Site 2480).