The History Inside The Chattanooga National Cemetery

Written by Jerrod Niles

Spring wind rustles through freshly bloomed leaves and carries the aroma of fresh cut grass. The silence is like that of no other. Being surrounded by those who gave the ultimate sacrifice can be more than humbling.

The Chattanooga National Cemetery is located in the heart of Chattanooga Tennessee. Founded in 1863 by General George Thomas for the union men he had lost in his campaign, it still stands today pristine and closely watched over. 

A look into the Chattanooga National Cemetery with Jim Ogden. Video by Jerrod Niles

Historian for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Jim Ogden explains the history of the park and those that can be found in the park. 

“It used to be a National park between the 1930s and 40s, but the administration had been switched over to the Department of Veteran Affairs.”

Ogden has worked for the Chickamauga Battlefield for over 30 years, taking his position in 1988, being the only Historian that the battlefield has ever had.

“There are men there from the Spanish-American war, World War I soldiers, World War II, as well as 13 thousand Civil War burials.”

The juggling of administration in the earlier years of the cemetery’s official life meant that the park had gone through many changes. The park itself grew from 70 acres to the modern size of over 120 acres. Parks were also created in the cemetery and taken away later in its life. 

Whilst it was run by the National Park Services since 1933, during WWII the parks resources were spread thin and ultimately the park changed ownership. 

“With the pressures of war time, it was felt by some that the National Park Services administration was not to the high standard that was desired. The cemetery was removed from the National Park Service, and transferred back to the war department in 1945.”

The cemetery holds many notable personnel today from the members of the 1862 Andrew’s Raiding Party to the subject of the famous movie Hacksaw Ridge’s conscientious objector, Desmond Doss. 

The Chattanooga National Cemetery is a pristine jewel that holds the history of the country, from the most recent tragedies to the history of the region. The elegant rolling hills are filled with the silence of 50,000 life times and will forever hold the history of not only Chattanooga, but the country as a whole.

The Chattanooga National Cemetery is open every day of the week from dawn till dusk. 

A look into The Chattanooga National Cemetery with Jim Ogden. Audio by Jerrod Niles.

Meet The Storyteller

Jerrod Niles is a multimedia creator that specializes in photography and videography. For the past four years, Niles has used his artistic eye and passion for automotives to create compelling visual content. Jerrod studies at UTC and continues to do freelance work from his dorm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can find more of Jerrod’s work at

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