Civil War  |  Historic Site

Chattanooga National Cemetery


1200 Bailey Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37404
United States

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This heritage site is a part of the American Battlefield Trust's Road to Freedom: Tennessee Tour Guide app, which showcases sites integral to the Black experience during the Civil War era. Download the FREE app now.

Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tenn. Mike Talplacido

United States Colored Troops (USCT) constructed the Chattanooga National Cemetery and buried their Black and white comrades here — the final resting place for more than 881 USCT veterans, and the site of a rare memorial to their service and sacrifice.

On Christmas Day, 1863, Union Gen. George Thomas, ordered his Army of the Cumberland to transform this formerly contested ground in view of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain into a military cemetery. It took shape under the direction of Army Chaplain Thomas B. Van Horne. But it was USCT soldiers — including men of the 42nd and 44th USCT regiments, originally raised in Chattanooga — who cleared, graded, and laid the stone walls establishing the grounds. They also helped locate, remove, and rebury most of the dead gathered from hospitals in Chattanooga and grave sites throughout southeast Tennessee and northern Alabama and Georgia.

By 1866, the cemetery held some 9,628 fallen comrades. Among them were 778 USCT soldiers, remarkably all but 20 identified. The honored dead served in 17 different regiments, including the 42nd and 44th, and were buried in sections I and J, separate from their white officers. After the USCT units mustered out, freedmen working on burial crews added 3,292 graves to the cemetery by 1869, including 103 USCT soldiers interred in sections J, Q, and R, along with 12 other civilian African Americans, including four women.

On December 4, 2021, a coalition of community leaders, reenactors, park partners, and city officials dedicated a monument in the cemetery’s circle of honor to these USCT soldiers who served the cause of freedom.

Chattanooga National Cemetery: What's Nearby

Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Regional History Center
Chattanooga, TN
Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center
Chattanooga, TN
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park/ Chattanooga Battlefields
Chattanooga, TN
Battles for Chattanooga Museum
Lookout Mountain, TN
Lookout Mountain/Missionary Ridge Chattanooga National Military Park
Chattanooga, TN
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
Oglethrope, GA