Winchester National Cemetery was established on land appropriated for burials during the Civil War. Although the land was used for burial purposes as early as 1862, the cemetery was not officially dedicated until April 8, 1866, and the land was not legally transferred to the U.S. government until Dec. 1, 1870, when Jacob Baker was paid $1,500 for the 4.89-acre tract and the deed was signed and executed.
Winchester National Cemetery was the final resting place for Union soldiers who fought and died at the battles of Winchester, New Market, Front Royal, Snickers Gap, Harper’s Ferry, Martinsburg, and Romney.
Physically, it was typical of first-generation national cemeteries built before 1870: the grounds were surrounded by a fence and thereafter a wall, a flagpole was centrally located, and a frame lodge followed by a masonry lodge served as an office and dwelling for the superintendent.
The Winchester cemetery benefited from federal programs initiated during the Great Depression. In 1930, the original tool house/comfort station was removed and a new, brick and stucco tool house/storage/comfort station building was erected by Civil Works Administration labor. During 1934 and 1936, headstones were reset and realigned, sunken graves were filled in, existing trees trimmed, new trees and roses planted, and the wall was repointed and repaired. In 1936, a brick and stucco gasoline storage building was constructed and a one-story addition and basement was added to the superintendent’s lodge by Workers Project Administration laborers. On Aug. 28, 1939, the original flagstaff was replaced with a new tubular steel one.
Winchester National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Monuments and Memorials
Winchester National Cemetery contains 15 monuments, most commemorating units that fought in the battles of the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War:
-The marble 38th Massachusetts Volunteers Monument was erected in 1864.
-The 14th New Hampshire Regiment Monument was erected by that state in 1868.
-The granite 8th Vermont Volunteers Monument was erected in 1885 by Herbert E. Hill.
-The granite 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry Monument was dedicated in 1888.
-The Pennsylvania Monument is a large granite structure surmounted by a bronze figure. The monument was erected in 1890 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
-A granite monument honoring the 12th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was erected by that state on Oct. 19, 1890.
-The 123rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry Monument is made of granite and faced with cut rifles, installed in 1899 by the State of Ohio.
-The Massachusetts Monument features a bronze soldier atop a granite base. The monument was erected by the State of Massachusetts in 1907.
-The 114th New York Volunteer Infantry Monument is made of cut granite. It was erected by the State of New York.
-The 34th Massachusetts Infantry Monument is a marble bust of Col. George D. Wells that sits atop a granite base.
-The granite 18th Connecticut Volunteers Monument was erected by the State of Connecticut.
-A granite monument in memory of the 13th Connecticut Volunteer Regiment was erected by the State of Connecticut.
-The granite 8th Regiment Vermont Infantry Monument was erected in memory of soldiers from that regiment who died in the Civil War.
-A granite monument in honor of the 6th Army Corps was erected shortly after the Civil War.
-A memorial in remembrance of the Third Battle of Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864, is located near the entrance to the cemetery.