With the close of the Civil War, action was taken by the United States to establish a burial ground in the vicinity of Santa Fe for re-interment of the remains of those Union soldiers who died during the brief period of Civil War military activity within the territory of New Mexico. The site initially chosen for the Cemetery was less than a third of an acre in extent, and was located about a quarter mile west of the town of Santa Fe. This property, now included within the confines of the present Santa Fe National Cemetery, is presently within the city limits of Santa Fe.
The cemetery area was then known as the Santa Fe National Cemetery, having been designated a national cemetery of the fourth class pursuant to General Orders No. 48, the Adjutant General’s Office, on April 6, 1875. However, this designation was not of long duration. The War Department of July 1, 1876, decided that for economic reasons the cemetery should be maintained at the Fort Marcy military base cemetery and the national cemetery superintendent appointed in 1875 was transferred to the Mound City National cemetery in Illinois. In 1892 pursuant to General Orders No. 62, the Adjutant General’s Office on September 10 again designated the cemetery as the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
The Santa Fe National cemetery is comprised of approximately 80 developed acres. We have over 58,000 burials. More than 500 interments in the cemetery are unknowns. We presently have casket and cremation burial space available through the year 2020. In Fiscal Year 2016, the Cemetery conducted 2,000 interments.
Initial interments at the cemetery site were the remains of 265 United States soldiers from the battlefields of Glorieta, Koslousky’s and Fort Marcy, which was the site of General Stephen Kearny’s camp in 1847.
The remains of Governor Charles Bent, the first American governor of the Territory of New Mexico, were among 47 removed in 1895 from the old Masonic Cemetery in Santa Fe to the national cemetery. Governor Bent was killed on January 19, 1847, in an Indian uprising in Taos.
On June 23, 1987 the remains of thirty-one Confederate soldiers of the 4th, 5th and 7th Regiments of the Texas Mounted Volunteers, who were killed or died as a result of wounds during the Battle of Glorieta Pass, March 1862, were discovered in a mass grave on the New Mexico Battlefield of Glorieta Pass. The remains of twenty-eight Confederate soldiers who could not be identified are buried in Section “K”, Grave 330C. A monument honors these Confederate soldiers who were re-interred at the Santa Fe National cemetery on April 25, 1993. The remains of 62 unknown and 3 known remains from Ft. Craig were interred in Section 15A on July 28, 2009. A monument was erected at the site
Santa Fe National Cemetery is also the burial place of ten (10) MEDAL OF HONOR Recipients whose surnames are a cross section of New Mexico heritage and include:
Sgt. Y.B. Rowdy- Yuma Indian and Army Scout,
May 15, 1890 (section A, Grave 894)
Pvt. Edwin L. Elwood- Indian Wars Army Cavalryman, Oct. 20, 1869 (Section H, Grave 705)
Cpl. Jacob Guenther- Indian Wars Army
(Section A-3, Grave 84)
CWT, Edward A. Clary- World War I Army,
Feb. 14, 1910 (Section O, Grave 335)
1Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.- World War II Marine, Nov.20, 1943 (Section MA, Grave 84)
PFC. Jose F. Valdez, World War II, U.S. Army,
Jan. 25, 1945, (Section Q, Grave 29)
Col. Robert Sheldon Scott- World War II Army, (Section 9, Grave 460)
SP4, Daniel D. Fernandez- Army (Vietnam)
(Section S, Grave 246)
CPT Raymond “Jerry” Murphy- Marine Corp (Korea) (Section S, Grave 282)
CPL Thomas Murphy- Army (Indian Wars)
(Section A1, Grave 740)
Of the original twenty-nine, there are fourteen (14) Navajo Code Talkers interred here. They were recruited to create a secret code for transmitting military messages from their native language.