Mexico City National Cemetery

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Mexico City National Cemetery
Mexico City National Cemetery.jpg
View toward the monument at the Mexico City National Cemetery
Details
Established1851
Location
CountryMexico

The Mexico City National Cemetery is a cemetery in Mexico City. It was established in 1851 by the United States Congress to gather the American dead of the Mexican–American War that lay in the nearby fields and to provide burial space for Americans who died in the vicinity.

The first dedicated United States military cemetery abroad, it served as a model for later cemeteries.[1]

History[edit]

An act of Congress on 28 September 1850 authorized the purchase of land for a cemetery.[1] Two acres were purchased for US$3,000 and US$1,734 worth of improvements were done in July 1852. The 750 individuals were interred in 1853.[1]

A small monument marks the common grave of 750 American dead of the War of 1847. Inscribed on the monument are the words:

TO THE HONORED MEMORY
OF 750 AMERICANS
KNOWN BUT TO GOD
WHOSE BONES COLLECTED
BY THEIR COUNTRY'S ORDER
ARE HERE BURIED

This inscription is incorrect: all the names are known.[2]

The March 29, 1866, edition of The Nation reported that cemetery keeper Schneider was given permission to grow produce on the grounds to supplement the commissions he earned from burials. He grew cabbages, so the cemetery was consequently given the epithet "American cabbage-ground" by Mexico City residents.[1][3] In May 1872, the US Congress approved an annual salary of US$1,105 for the cemetery keeper.[1]

In January 1873 the cemetery came under the protection and funding of the administration responsible for military cemeteries in the United States.[1]

In this 1-acre (4,000 m2) area are also placed 813 remains of Americans and others in wall crypts on either side of the cemetery. The cemetery was closed to further burials in 1923.

The cemetery, which is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.

Location[edit]

The cemetery is at 31 Virginia Fabregas, Colonia San Rafael, about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral and 1-mile (1.6 km) north of the U.S. embassy.

Notable burials[edit]

  • Henry Watkins Allen (1820–1866), Confederate States brigadier general and governor of Louisiana, later disinterred and buried in Louisiana[4]
  • James E. Slaughter (1827–1901), Confederate States brigadier general[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Dickon, Chris (2011). The Foreign Burial of American War Dead: A History. McFarland. pp. 25–26. ISBN 9780786485017. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Honoring Veterans: Mexico City National Cemetery". Descendants of Mexican War Veterans. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "An American Cemetery in Mexico". The Nation. J.H. Richards. 1866. p. 392. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  4. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State: Louisiana Governors 1861–1877
  5. ^ James Edward Slaughter at Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]

  • Sledge, Michael (2005). Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honor Our Military Fallen. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 200. ISBN 9780231509374. OCLC 60527603.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Mexico City National Cemetery, American Battle Monuments Commission". Coordinates: 19°26′34″N 99°9′56″W / 19.44278°N 99.16556°W / 19.44278; -99.16556