The soldiers' lot is located in Lot 14 of Oakdale Memorial Gardens, as the cemetery is known today. Originally, soldiers were interred in multiple areas of the cemetery, before the burials were consolidated into the soldiers' lot. As of December 1865, 174 Civil War soldiers were buried in the soldiers' lot.
Around 1888, roughly 160 remains in Oakdale Cemetery were removed to Rock Island and Keokuk National Cemeteries. In 1900, the remaining interments were consolidated into the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) plot within the cemetery, the location of all subsequent government burials. In 1940, the GAR conveyed all interests in the plot to the Oakdale Cemetery Association, and the United States acquired the lot in 1941. Today, interments within the soldiers' lot include 71 Civil War dead, seven of whom were killed during the Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and were the first Iowan casualties of the Civil War.