Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Despite not being one of the first National Cemeteries, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery has a long history, stretching back forty years before it was officially recognized by the government in 1866. The Barracks were initially founded in 1826, only a few miles south of St. Louis, as the major military outpost for American expansion west of the Mississippi River. During this period, the Barracks often served as a mediary between white settlers and Native American tribes. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the outpost’s prime tactical location along the banks of the Mississippi made it a central hub for Union troops, including Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. After the war, the barracks would only see occasional use during future US conflicts until it was decommissioned after World War II, leaving the Cemetery as the primary facility in the complex, until the National Guard recently took up residence.

The grounds themselves contain veterans from across American history (including some veterans of the Revolutionary War), but soldiers on both sides of the Civil War make up the vast majority. In fact, the Jefferson Barracks contain the largest number of Civil War grave sites in the state of Missouri, with over 16,000 burial sites. At over three hundred acres, it is also the largest National Cemetery in Missouri or Kansas, and sites remain open for future veterans. Unfortunately, all of the original structures from the Civil War era have been lost due to time, leaving only more recent administrative buildings from the 20th and 21st centuries. Despite that, the gravestones and monuments of the Cemetery provide a history all their own.

One of the most interesting monuments at the Cemetery is dedicated not to soldiers from Missouri, but Minnesota. This Minnesota Monument was built in 1922, and was designed by sculptor John K. Daniels in remembrance of the over one hundred North Star State veterans who are interred at the Jefferson Barracks. While many National Cemeteries try to prioritize veterans from their home state, because of the Cemetery’s large size in comparison to many other federally run veteran’s cemeteries, some veterans from out of state find their way here. Other monuments include a stone obelisk dedicated to the black soldiers of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry, who perished during a cholera outbreak in the Civil War, and monuments to more recent conflicts, such as Vietnam and Korea. Through its long history and large size, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery has been able to bring together American military history from across the country and across the centuries together under one roof.



2900 Sheridan Rd, Saint Louis, Missouri ~ Public access during posted hours of operation.