The Little Rock National Cemetery is located in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the beginning of the Civil War, the area that is now the cemetery was located just outside the city limits and was used as a Union bivouac. Union troops still occupied the city in 1866; therefore, a portion of the new city cemetery was purchased by the government to be reserved for military interments.
The military property was purchased by the government as two parcels: In September 1866, 9.1 acres were purchased, and in April 1868, another 3.2 acres were acquired.
The property was designated a national cemetery on April 9, 1868, with the stated purpose of centralizing the remains of Union dead who had been interred throughout Arkansas.
At the time, there were 5,425 total Union interments of which 3,092 were identified and 2,333 were unknown. In 1868, the remains of 1,482 dead were removed from the area’s battlefield graves and reinterred there.
A Confederate cemetery was established adjacent to the national cemetery in 1884, which consisted of 11 acres. The remains of 640 Confederate soldiers, which had been buried at Little Rock's Mount Holly Cemetery, were removed and reinterred there, as well.
In 1913, the Secretary of War accepted a deed from the City of Little Rock for the Confederate cemetery, but only Confederate veterans could be interred in the newly acquired cemetery. In 1938, the Confederate cemetery became the Confederate Section of Little Rock National Cemetery.
In 1990, additional land was purchased by the National Expansion Corporation from the Oakland Fraternal Cemetery and formally donated it for expansion of the national cemetery. The City of Little Rock, donated one additional acre in November 1999.
The Little Rock National Cemetery now encompasses more than 30 acres, and in 1996, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.