And the Soldiers Marched Down to the Sea: Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Ft. Rosecrans view to the sea photographed by theyearofhalloween.com1857 U.S.C.S. Map of San Diego Bay California Nestled on a strip of land high above the ocean lies Fort Rosecrans, a military internment site serving as the final resting place for 100,000 soldiers, staring calmly out to the ocean and stalwartly guarding the bay. While I tend to prefer my graveyards on the candle-lit and gloomy side, there is something so perfectly peaceful about Ft. Rosecrans that it’s the ideal choice to feature today, as we celebrate Veterans Day here in the United States.

Known as Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery since 1934, the cemetery sits on a narrow strip of land nearly 400 feet above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Serving as a military fort since at least 1796, interments date to the mid 1800s, the early days of the California Republic. Facing south, towards the historic Point Loma lighthouse and beyond to Mexico, the cemetery is boarded by the city of San Diego to the east and the vast expanse of the ocean to the west. In the distance, like a pirate’s map come to life, lie the Islas Coronados, known as “The Sentries of San Diego Bay.”

Bennington Monument Dedication, Point Loma, Jan 7 1908

In 1901, the fort received national attention with the erection of a monument to the military casualties of the USS Bennington, sixty-two sailors who perished when their ship’s boiler exploded at sea. Today, rumors of hauntings at Ft. Rosecrans persist among the stacked lines of tombstones who stand, watching the sea with steadfast military precision: reports of a sailor in a white uniform who appears then disappears behind the rows in an instant, the feeling of being watched, the distant sound of phantom artillery fire rising and falling over the steady throb of the ocean far below.

Whatever the paranormal state of this cemetery, the soldiers of Ft. Rosecrans stand down high above the ocean, gazing out in perpetual, ordered tranquility. Enjoy the Fort Rosecrans photos in the gallery below, and happy Veterans Day.

For more on the history of Ft. Rosecrans, visit the official Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery site. To find an internment, try Find A Grave or the Veterans Administration’s National Internment Finder.

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– There is Still Fire in Your Tombs: Troy Paiva’s Lost America Photography

Categories: History (Haunted and Otherwise)

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10 replies

  1. Wow…one massive cemetery. I’m doing haunt posts every hour on the hour today about military buildings. Happy Veterans Day, Eva!

  2. That’s a nice way to observe the holiday. Well played.

  3. The first is especially evocative. The clouds seem to be continuing the soldiers’ almost forgotten march.

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