More than 4 million people visit Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, annually. Rooted in history, it’s the resting place for 14,000 veterans. Few realize a cemetery with an impressive military history is in their own city. The Historic Oak Hill Cemetery, one of two cemeteries owned and maintained by the City of Evansville (Locust Hill is the second), was founded in 1853 and contains 175 acres. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Perhaps the most hallowed ground at Oak Hill is the interment sections, which contain the remains of soldiers who died in battle or in Evansville hospitals from wounds during the Civil War. The remains of 500 Union men, 24 Confederate soldiers, and 98 local dead were buried in three separate sections — all victims of Civil War skirmishes. In 1868, the city began efforts to secure designation of the Union veterans’ areas as federal property. A Congressional appropriation was recognized in 1898.
In 1904, the Fitzhugh Lee Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument for the 24 soldiers who died fighting for the South. A memorial for local Union dead was added in 1909. More recently, work was completed to refurbish several of the 37 Civil War era cannons around this section of Oak Hill.
In 2001, the City of Evansville dedicated a plaza to Vanderburgh County veterans from the wars of the 20th Century. In addition, a new section was built to house the remains of modern day veterans. Oak Hill’s grounds are available daily from sunrise to sunset for visitors to see these historic graves or simply enjoy the cemetery’s beautiful design.