Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery

Alexandria National Cemetery was established by the Union Army in 1862. Of the 3,500+ soldiers buried here, more than 250 are African-American. Many were first buried at Freedmen's Cemetery (1001 S. Washington Street) but later re-interred at the National Cemetery.*

This database was created after a careful review of Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery by Edward A. Miller, Jr., located in Local History/Special Collections. Miller's sources included -- but were not limited to -- pension files, military service records, and hospital records. His research was published in Historic Alexandria Quarterly.


Name. -- In some cases there are variations of a name e.g. records for "Charles H. Manwell" also appear under the surnames "Matver" and "Manton."

Date of Birth and Birthplace/Likely Birthplace -- Some birthdates were reported by the soldier upon enlistment; others are estimates based on age reported at death.

Condition/Occupation --
If Miller indicates that the person was "probably a slave," the entry appears as "slave?"

Military Service/Post-Military Life -- Information about date/place of enlistment, regiment/company, rank achieved/military duty, date/place of discharge, and post-military life/whereabouts is included when available.

Date of Death and Cause of Death -- Dates and causes appear as they were reported by Miller.

Wife and Children -- Wedding dates, names of wives, and names of children are included when available.

Notes -- Additional details about many soldiers appear in the Miller monograph.

Photocopies of these biographical sketches are available.

NOTE: Researchers might also want to refer to Guide to African-American Resources. The guide presents an overview of relevant materials in the Alexandria Library Local History/Special Collections division.

*Additional information about the cemetery is available at the Freedmen's Cemetery web site.