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St. Augustine National Cemetery

A view of the St. Augustine National Cemetery

A view of the St. Augustine National Cemetery

The cemetery adjacent to St. Francis Barracks in downtown St. Augustine served the military post here from towns early days as an American territory. The earliest burials were soldiers killed in the Florida Indian Wars. In 1881, this cemetery was designated the first National Cemetery in Florida. Although the cemetery size was expanded twice in the early 20th century, it is now closed to new interments. The superintendent’s lodge, shown here on the right side of the photo, was built in 1938.

Current Information

The St. Augustine National Cemetery is located at 104 Marine Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. There is no information kiosk or onsite management personnel at this location. Information inquiries should be made to the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell at 352-793-7740 or fax 352-793-9560. The cemetery is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can search for burial locations for veterans and their family members online at the VA National Gravesite Locator.

References:

The Standard Guide: Dade Massacre

The Standard Guide was a tourist guide to St. Augustine published by Charles B. Reynolds in the 1890s. Its gorgeous illustrations and interesting history entertained visitors during St. Augustine’s gilded age. Reprints of the Guide can be found in book stores and gift shops around town. Here is the description of the Dade Massacre included in the Guide:

We will now take the interested stranger to the military burying-ground, which is located just south of the United States Barracks. Under three pyramids here are interred the remains of Major Dade and his one hundred and seven comrades, who were massacred by the Indians when on their way to the Withlacoochee River to join General Clinch. These were sent from Fort Brooke, at Tampa, to reinforce General Clinch, and on the 28th of December, 1835, were attacked by eight hundred Indians in ambush. At the first fire more than half the soldiers were killed or wounded, but the remainder returned the fire, and a small six-pounder cannon was used with some effect until the artillerymen were all killed or wounded. The Indians then showed themselves, leaving their ambush and thus disclosing their numbers, of whom one hundred were mounted. The fight was kept up for an hour, when the Indians slackened their fire, and the soldiers felled trees and erected a triangular fortress as a protection. The respite, however, was temporary. The Indians again rushed on with whoop and yell to complete the fearful butchery, and a desperate hand to hand conflict was maintained, until all but three of the soldiers were killed or wounded. These three managed to escape and tell the sad tale.

During the conflict the soldiers used their bayonets and clubbed their muskets, and the Indians made use of their knives and tomahawks.

After the battle the wounded were killed and scalped, and the victors danced a war dance over the battle-ground, and at length left the field of carnage with the dead unburied, lying in the postures in which they had fallen.

A dog belonging to Captain Gardner escaped and returned to Tampa, giving at that place the first intimation of the bloody work that had been perpetrated. When fresh troops arrived on the scene, they beheld their dead comrades lying where they had fallen, with the stern expression of battle still on their faces, which were turned in the direction of the quarter from which their savage foes had attacked them. They were buried on the battle-field, and the six-pounder cannon was placed upright in the ground to mark the spot. Their remains were afterwards removed to this place.