National Cemetery Administration
History: Primary Sources and Original Records
100 Years of Historic National Cemetery Burial Records
By 2012, NCA completely digitized its original burial system: hand-written ledgers from the 1860s to 1960s. Through a partnership with Ancestry.com, NCA's ledgers — along with others in the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) collection — are available to Ancestry.com subscribers and free to visitors to NARA facilities.
Note to History and Genealogy researchers: The NCA Historian Program staff is unable to undertake primary research for the public about veterans who may or may not be interred in NCA cemeteries due to the volume of these requests. Researchers should contact the National Archives & Records Administration or other offices recommended in the FAQs.
Roll of Honor: Accounting for Union Dead
Over six years (1865-70), the U.S. Army Quartermaster General issued 27 volumes of the Roll of Honor, listing the names of more than 300,000 Union soldiers buried in national and other cemeteries. An 1871 inspection report stated that national cemeteries at Corinth, Memphis, and Nashville contained thousands of unknowns: 3,762, 8,819, and 4,001, respectively. These unknown graves were originally marked with 6x6 square blocks with a grave number cut into the top surface. A large number of Union dead were also interred in trench graves at Salisbury National Cemetery, the former Salisbury Prison cemetery. Because it was not possible to identify individual burials here, the federal government erected a large obelisk monument near the trenches to honor the dead. However, the government did identify the names of soldiers who were likely buried in these four cemeteries. Click on the links below for searchable versions of the burials in these cemeteries, transcribed from Roll of Honor:
- Roll of Honor, 1869, No. XX (20), Corinth (Mississippi) National Cemetery
- Roll of Honor, 1869, No. XXI (21), Memphis (Tennessee) National Cemetery (Under Development)
- Roll of Honor, 1869, No. XXII (22), Nashville (Tennessee) National Cemetery
- Roll of Honor, 1868, No. XIV (14), Salisbury (North Carolina) National Cemetery
Articles by Edward Steere that appeared in The Quartermaster Review, in 1953-1954:
- Early Growth of the National Cemetery System*
- Evolution of the National Cemetery System 1865-1880*
- Expansion of the National Cemetery System 1880-1900*
- National Cemeteries and Memorials in Global Conflict*
* External Link Disclaimer: Links marked with an asterisk ( * ) are external links. By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.