Blandford Cemetery

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Blandford Cemetery
The Memorial Arch at Blandford Cemetery, constructed in 1913 by Burns and Campbell.
Blandford Cemetery is located in Virginia
Blandford Cemetery
Blandford Cemetery is located in the US
Blandford Cemetery
Location319 S. Crater Rd., Petersburg, Virginia
Coordinates37°13′33″N 77°22′50″W / 37.22583°N 77.38056°W / 37.22583; -77.38056Coordinates: 37°13′33″N 77°22′50″W / 37.22583°N 77.38056°W / 37.22583; -77.38056
ArchitectDavidson, James; Bowie, McCleary & Wright
Architectural styleMid 19th Century Revival, Early Republic, Late Victorian
NRHP reference #92001371 [1]
VLR #123-0110
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1992
Designated VLRApril 22, 1992[2]

Blandford Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Petersburg, Virginia, United States. The oldest stone, marking the grave of Richard Yarbrough, reads 1702. Veterans of every American war are buried there,[3] including 30,000 Confederates killed in the Siege of Petersburg (1864–65) during the American Civil War.[4] It is located adjacent to the People's Memorial Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery.

In 1866, Blandford Cemetery was the site of a Decoration Day ceremony. While visiting the cemetery, the wife of Union General John A. Logan was present and reportedly witnessed Miss Nora Fontaine Davidson, a schoolteacher, and her pupils putting flowers and tiny Confederate flags on the soldiers' graves. Shortly afterward General Logan issued a proclamation calling for the observance of Memorial Day. Locals say that Decoration Day served as the inspiration for the federal Memorial Day.

In 2014, Bellware and Gardiner dismissed this claim in The Genesis of the Memorial Day Holiday in America, pointing out that General Logan was aware of the southern observances of Memorial Day prior to his wife's trip to Virginia in 1868, and had mentioned them in a speech in 1866.[5]

The cemetery grounds cover 189 acres (0.76 km2), making it the second largest cemetery in Virginia (Arlington National Cemetery being the largest).[6] The original burial grounds, referred to as the "old ground," span 4 acres (16,000 m2) and includes the historic Blandford Church.

Colonel Robert Bolling, Confederate Major General William Mahone, his wife Otelia, and many of their kinfolk, Confederate Brigadier General Cullen A. Battle[7] and Confederate Brigadier General David A. Weisiger are interred there.

The cemetery is adjacent to Blandford Church, which is a Confederate memorial that features a full set of windows designed by Tiffany studios.

The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.[1]

Notable burials[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ Sarah Steele, Wilson (1 August 2012). "Remembering the Cost". The Hopewell News. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ Ashley M. Neville and Historic Blandford Cemetery Foundation (March 1992). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Blandford Cemetery" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. and Accompanying photo
  5. ^ Bellware, Daniel and Richard Gardiner, PhD. (2014). The Genesis of the Memorial Day Holiday in America. Columbus State University. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-692-29225-9.
  6. ^ "Blandford Cemetery". Encyclopedia of Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Cullen Andrews Battle (1829 - 1905) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  8. ^ "PETERSBURG (BLANDFORD) CEMETERY". Find a Cemetery. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2 August 2015.