Located at 1001 Fourth Avenue South at Oak Street, south of downtown. Open to the public dawn to dusk. Driveable lanes within the cemetery, with signage as to notable citizens buried there.
Directions: From I-65 South, exit at Wedgewood (Exit 81) and drive west one block to 8th Ave. South and turn right. Turn right at Chesnut Ave., cross over interstate, and turn left onto Ft. Negley Blvd. Proceed to Bass St., then Oak St. Entrance is at Oak St. at 4th Ave. South.
Nashville's first public graveyard:
Located, figuratively, in the shadow of Fort Negley on St. Cloud's Hill, the City Cemetery is one of the oldest public cemeteries in the region (est. 1822) and holds the remains of many early settlers who were brought here for permanent burial. Most prominent would be James Robertson, founder of Nashville.
Photographs of the cemetery taken from the fort during the Union occupation of Nashville (1862-65) show many wooden crosses marking graves in the cemetery. The crosses were presumedly destroyed during the war, possibly used as firewood.
Civil War casualties buried here:
The bloody battles of Shiloh in April 1862 and Stones River in early 1863 filled Nashville's makeshift hospitals to overflowing. Undertaker W.R. Cornelius, who had the Federal contract for burials, buried Federal and Confederate dead separately at the City Cemetery. More than 15,000 were interred in the open field to the southwest of the cemetery. Blacks who fought for the Union were buried at a distance. In 1867, when the Nashville National Cemetery was dedicated, all of the Union dead were relocated and buried together there.
It should be noted that most of the Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Nashville were buried at Confederate Circle in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Gen. Bushrod Johnson:
An Ohio native and West Point graduate, Bushrod Johnson served as head of the military department at the University of Nashville before the Civil War. He purchased a lot for $20 in 1858 and buried his wife Martha there. An able commander during the war, he died in 1880 in Ohio and was buried there. In 1975, he was returned to Nashville to lie beside his wife at the City Cemetery, following an impressive military service.
Gen. Felix Zollicoffer:
A newspaper editor and politician in Nashville, Zollicoffer led Confederate troops in East Tennessee at the beginning of the war and was shot and killed at the Battle of Mill Springs (Fishing Creek), Ky. on Jan. 19, 1862. He is buried with his wife at the City Cemetery.
Gen. Richard Ewell:
Known as "Old Baldy," Ewell commanded Confederate troops in the Eastern Theater, including the Battle of Gettysburg. During the war, he married Lizinka Campbell Brown of Nashville, and after the war they retired to Spring Hill, Tenn. They both died in January 1872 and are buried together at City Cemetery on the lot of her parents, George Washington and Harriet Stoddart Campbell.
Lt. Andrew Willis Gould:
Lt. Gould was stabbed to death June 26, 2863 in Columbia, Tenn. by his commanding officer, Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, during an altercation. Forrest was shot and wounded.
Capt. Driver and Old Glory
Buried here is New England sea captain William Driver, a loyal Unionist whose sons fought for the Confederacy. Capt. Driver was overjoyed when Union troops occupied the city in early 1862, and it was his old Union flag, nicknamed Old Glory, which was flown above the state Capitol. Old Glory now resides at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Sources: Nashville City Cemetery Association, a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining and interpreting the cemetery.
"The Nashville City Cemetery: History Carved in Stone," by Carole Stanford Bucy and Carol Farrar Kaplan,
Metropolitan Historical Commission
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