Annapolis National Cemetery is located in Anne Arundel County, within the city limits of Annapolis, Md. Annapolis was one of the 14 national cemeteries established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The original land was leased in Aug. 1862 from a local resident, Nicholas Brewer, for a period of 99 years. Five years later, Brewer’s heirs sold the land outright to the federal government.
During the Civil War, Annapolis was the site of a Union training and recruiting center. Despite the government’s best efforts to keep the camps sanitary, a large number of men died due to illnesses such as small pox and typhoid, as well as accidents and violence. As a result, most original interments at the cemetery were men who died at the training camps or nearby hospitals.
Annapolis also had a role in the exchange of prisoners between Union and Confederate sides. As early as the War of 1812, there was a well-established practice of paroling prisoners of war so neither side incurred the expense of holding and maintaining the others’ troops for an extended period. While City Point, Va., was the official exchange location, Confederate prisoners were held at Annapolis while arrangements were negotiated. Conversely, Union soldiers held by the Confederacy were often moved to the hospital at Camp Parole, near Annapolis, after their release. At least 24 men buried at Annapolis National Cemetery were former Confederate POWs who died in captivity.
Annapolis National Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.