VA Maine Healthcare System
Togus National Cemetery
Togus National Cemetery has two sections (East and West), comprised of 31.2 acres. Togus National Cemetery is the only national cemetery in the State of Maine.
To locate a veteran buried at any National Cemetery including the Togus National Cemetery: Nation-wide Burial Locator.
In 1867 Major Cutler, who was in charge of Togus at that time, officially opened the West Cemetery because he preferred that attractive hilltop. bodies of six veterans who had died thus far were moved to the new location. Major Cutler felt the factors of color, rank and religion were of no importance. They were buried side by side since they had been soldiers together. General Stephenson erected the Memorial Monument in the West Cemetery in 1889. He originated the plan for the project and encouraged the work, but it was the “inmates” who did all the work. One inmate who was a marble worker, designed and helped build the monument. With the exception of the cement used in building the monument, everything connected with it, namely design, building, quarrying and stone cuttings were all done on Togus grounds with inmates. Most headstones were from local quarries near Augusta and Hallowell.
The East Cemetery was started in 1947. A living memorial hedge of lilacs and a background border of Maine white pines was planted around the cemetery in 1949 by the Garden Club Federation of Maine. The Garden Federation maintained the living memorial and furnished the necessary replacements until the federal government took over in July 1957. Today, only the white pines remain.
The first veteran was buried in the West Cemetery on April 20, 1867 and the last burial was in the East Cemetery on June 30, 1961. Although it is a closed cemetery, we have buried widows of veterans in the past few years which meet very strict guidelines. Among the veterans buried here, some received considerable recognition.
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT:
David Scannell, only Medal of Honor recipient, buried in West Cemetery, Section C. Stone is unique with engraving in gold.
Buffalo soldiers were African-Americans who served in African-American regiments of the regular U.S. Army formed shortly after the Civil War. They served during the Indian Wars and opening of the West during the last half of the 19th century. The majority of them saw combat with hostile Cheyenne Indians along Kansas-Pacific Railroad lines. They engaged the Cheyenne in a series of clashes, and won the respect of the Indian warriors who dubbed them “Buffalo soldiers”. So named because of their fierceness in battle and their hair and dusty coats that reminded the Cheyenne of a buffalo’s mane, Buffalo Soldiers accepted the term as a badge of honor. Buffalo Soldiers assisted civil authorities in maintaining law and order, controlling mobs, and pursuing outlaws, cattle thieves and even Mexican revolutionaries. They built or renovated dozens of Army posts and camps, strung thousands of miles of telegraph lines and mapped uncharted wilderness. They went on to serve with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. During World War I, Buffalo Soldiers served on the Mexican Border. In World War II, the regiments were part of the Second Cavalry Division until their decommissioning in North Africa in 1944. These soldiers include: Robert Warren Washington, East Cemetery, Section Q William H. Smith, West Cemetery, Section P Edwin Wight, West Cemetery, Section K.
Private Joseph Zisgen, member of 16th New York Cavalry, was part of the detachment that cornered and killed John Wilkes Booth on April 26, 1865. He is buried in the West Cemetery, Section L. No special marker is on that grave.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
April-October: 7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.