National Cemetery Administration
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery
Visitation Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Office Hours: The office is located at Leavenworth National Cemetery. Open Monday thru Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day.
This cemetery has space available for cremated remains. We may be able to accommodate casketed remains in the same gravesite of previously interred family members.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.
Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
The cemetery is located on Fort Leavenworth Army Installation. From Kansas City International Airport, take Interstate 29 north 7.5 miles to Platte City (exit 20). Turn left and proceed through Platte City to Highway 92 and turn west for 8.5 miles. After crossing the bridge into Leavenworth continue to the second stop light. Turn right on Grant Avenue (you are now on the Army Installation) and go to the second stop light and turn left on Cody. Bear to the right around the golf course onto Biddle Boulevard. The cemetery is on your left.
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery is administered from the office at Leavenworth National Cemetery.
Military Funeral Honors
Military funeral honors as organized under the Department of Defense military funeral honors program "Honoring Those Who Served," should be arranged through the funeral director.
Local Numbers For Military Funeral Honors
U.S. Air Force: 660-687-6532
U.S. Army: 913-684-3557/3558
U.S. Coast Guard: 314-606-6792
U.S. Marines: 866-826-3628 or 703-432-9524
U.S. Navy: 904-542-6357
U.S. Army National Guard: 785-646-1520 or 785-646-1208
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Fresh-cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. Cemetery visitors are free to use flower containers located in receptacles placed throughout the grounds. Flowers are picked up on Mondays from March 15 through November 15. Please check flower pickup sign at the entrance.
Artificial flowers and potted plants will be permitted on graves during periods when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance. As a general rule, artificial flowers and potted plants will be allowed on graves for a period extending seven days before through seven days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from December 1 through January 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
Permanent plantings, statues, flags, vigil lights, breakable objects, balloons, pin wheels, shepherd hooks and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
Permanent items removed from graves will be placed in an inconspicuous holding area for one month prior to disposal. Decorative items removed from graves remain the property of the donor but are under the custodianship of the cemetery. If not retrieved by donor, they are then governed by the rules for disposal of federal property.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors.
Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, located just north of Leavenworth, KS, is located near the center of the historic Fort Leavenworth Military Reservation. The garrison of Fort Leavenworth is one of the oldest continuously-active military post located west of the Mississippi River and is noted for its significant role in the development of the American West.
After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, trade routes were opened in the western territories of North America. Conflicts arose when the trade routes crossed lands that belonged to various Native American tribes. Traders soon appealed to the U.S. government for protection and aid in keeping the routes open. In response, the government established a number of military posts west of the Mississippi River—including Fort Leavenworth.
In 1827, the War Department ordered Colonel Henry Leavenworth to follow the Missouri River until he reached the mouth of the Little Platte River and establish a permanent military cantonment on the east bank there. After exploring the area, Col. Leavenworth determined that the west (ultimately Kansas) side of the river was the best site and construction of the cantonment began shortly afterwards. Due to its strategic location on both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, Fort Leavenworth was a key crossroads for westbound settlers. The flat land near the river contained corrals and supply yards and was well suited for traders and wagon trains on their long westbound journeys.
As early as 1834, cavalry regiments from Fort Leavenworth were ordered to help quell Native American uprisings. When the Mexican War broke out, Fort Leavenworth became an outfitting post for troops headed to the Southwest. Later, it outfitted prospectors bound for California to "strike it rich" with gold. Fort Leavenworth served as Army headquarters for the West and was the site of the formal surrender of New Mexico to the United States in 1846.
Roots of the American Civil War began with the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and, afterwards, in the new Kansas territory. In addition to wars and uprising with Native Americans in the waning Indian Territory, Fort Leavenworth served to protect citizens determined to settle in the Kansas territory. During the late 1840s and throughout the 1850s, Kansas was plagued by violent skirmishes between pro-slavery and "free state" proponents. Kansas became an official U.S. territory in May 1854 with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and as the dream of statehood was kindled, the fiery debate over whether Kansas would enter the Union as a "free" or "slave" state ignited more violence and bloodshed. Many of the early burials at Fort Leavenworth reflect the tragic loss of life from this period in our nation's history.
Kansas became the 34th state when it entered the Union on January 29, 1861. Four months later, the official outbreak of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Fort Leavenworth's strategic location on the border of two states with opposing sympathies played a vital role in the war's Western theatre. In 1861, Camp Lincoln was founded at the post and thousands of volunteers were equipped and trained for the Union Army. Fort Leavenworth has served as training grounds for thousands of soldiers for many wars since that time. The cemetery contains burials that resulted from the infamous Quantrill's raid and massacre that took place in nearby Lawrence, KS on August 21, 1863.
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery reflects the fort's changing role in our nation's history. The ravages of malaria and other diseases among the first soldiers assigned to Cantonment Leavenworth necessitated the creation of a burying ground as early as 1827. Due to military tradition at the time, two cemeteries were originally established on the fort grounds: one for enlisted soldiers was located near the present site of the Commanding General's quarters; the other was reserved exclusively for officers and was located near what is now the Combined Arms Research Library. In 1858, the remains from both post cemeteries were re-interred into a single site on the military reservation. When Congress approved the creation of national cemeteries in 1862, the Fort Leavenworth cemetery became one of 14 national cemeteries to be designated or established as such that year. Of the original 14 national cemeteries, Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was the largest and contained 36.10 acres.
In the years following the Civil War, the bodies of Union soldiers from St. Joseph, Kansas City and Independence, MO, were re-interred at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. In addition, the cemetery was used as the burial ground for soldiers who served at frontier posts in Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and southern Wyoming. In 1870, the Inspector of National Cemeteries reported more than 1,000 Union soldiers interred at Fort Leavenworth along with roughly 170 citizens and 7 Confederate prisoners of war.
The oldest known burial at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery is that of Clarinda Dale who died September 21, 1844. She was originally interred in the old Fort Leavenworth Arsenal Cemetery. The oldest known military grave is that of Captain James Allen, 1st U.S. Dragoons, who died in August 1846. Like Miss Dale, Capt. Allen was originally buried in Fort Leavenworth Arsenal Cemetery and later moved to the national cemetery. In 1886, soldiers originally buried at Fort Craig, New Mexico, were re-interred at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery to facilitate completion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Following the close of the Indian Wars and resettlement of Native Americans, the Army closed or consolidated many of its small military outposts in the West. As a result, between 1885 and 1907, the federal government vacated numerous military post cemeteries and re-interred nearly 2,000 remains at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
The remains of Brigadier General Leavenworth, the fort's namesake, were disinterred from Woodland Cemetery in Delhi, NY, and reinterred in the national cemetery on Memorial Day in 1902. The general died in 1834 at Cross Timbers, in Indian Territory, without knowing that he had been promoted from colonel to brigadier general. A large granite marker topped with an eagle in repose was erected in 1910 to mark his grave.
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 15, 1999.
Monuments and Memorials
Two large grave-markers that look like monuments are located in the cemetery: the 12-foot granite marker for General Henry Leavenworth and an 8-foot granite marker for Colonel Edward Hatch.
Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
Captain Harry Bell (Philippine Insurrection). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, 36th Infantry, for actions near Porac, Luzon, Philippine Islands, October 17, 1899. Bell died in 1938 and is buried in Section Officer A, Site 167.
Captain Thomas W. Custer (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor twice while serving in the U.S. Army, Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry; first for capturing the flag at Namozine Church, Virginia, on May 3, 1865, and second for actions at Sailor's Creek, Virginia, April 1865. Custer died in 1876 and is buried in Section A, Site 1488.
Lieutenant Commander William E. Hall (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions in the Coral Sea (Pacific), May 7–8, 1942. Hall died in 1996 and is buried in Section I, Site 286.
Corporal John Kile (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company M, 5th U.S. Cavalry, for actions near the Republican River, Kansas, July 8, 1869. His citation was awarded under the name of Kyle. Kile died in 1870 and is buried in Section H, Site 3341.
Private Fitz Lee (Spanish-American War). Fitz Lee was born in June 1866, in Dinwiddie County, VA. In 1889 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with Troop M, 10th Cavalry. At the beginning of his third enlistment, the United States declared war on Spain and Private Lee was among those in Tayabacoa in 1898. On June 30, Lee and four others volunteered to rescue wounded men stranded on the Cuban beach. For his bravery Lee was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1899, while hospitalized in Fort Bliss, Texas. Discharged in July, he went to Leavenworth, KS, where a supportive community of black veterans lived. They cared for Lee until his death on September 14, 1899. Lee was buried with full military honors in Section G, Site 3183.
Private Edward Pengally (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company B, 8th U.S. Cavalry, for actions in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory, October 20, 1869. Pengally died in 1874 and is buried in Section G, Site 3032.
First Sergeant Joseph Robinson (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company D, 3rd U.S. Cavalry, for actions at the Rosebud River, Montana Territory, June 17, 1876. Robinson died in 1917 and is buried in Section D, Site 1296-D.
Private Albert D. Sale (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company F, 8th U.S. Calvary, for actions at the Santa Maria River, Arizona Territory, June 29, 1869. Sale died in 1874 and is buried in Section E, Site 2706.
First Sergeant Jacob Widmer (Indian Wars). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company D, 5th U.S. Cavalry, for actions at Milk River, Colorado, September 29, 1879. Widmer died in 1880 and is buried in Section G, Site 3529.
More than half of VA's national cemeteries originated with the Civil War and many are closed to some burials. Other sites were established to serve World War veterans and they continue to expand. Historic themes related with NCA's cemeteries and soldiers' lots vary, but visitors should understand "Why is it here?" NCA began by installing interpretive signs, or waysides, at more than 100 properties to observe the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015). Please follow the links below to see the interpretive signs for Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.