East Hill Cemetery

East Hill Cemetery (HM19SQ)

Location: Bristol, TN 37620 Sullivan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 35.625', W 82° 10.225'

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Historic Burying Ground

During the Civil War, Bristol was a strategic location on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. The Confederate Medical Corps established hospitals in the town, which soon became an important medical center. Wounded soldiers were brought by rail from battlefields in the region, and those who did not survive were interred on East Hill in a small plot. These 101 burials are concentrated in an area that lies beyond an opening flanked by two heavy stone posts. Almost 200 additional Confederate graves can be found throughout the cemetery.

The 16.7-acre East Hill Cemetery is divided by the Tennessee-Virginia state line. The westernmost part is the oldest, with the first burial occurring in 1857. The graveyard was not officially designated a cemetery until 1868, when merchant LaFayette Johnson purchased two acres, including the soldiers' plot, because he wished to honor those who had died during the war. He then deeded the land to the Ladies Memorial Association for use as a town cemetery.

The graves of 57 Union veterans are located in the cemetery. According to oral tradition, twelve African American graves are near the soldiers. Although there are no individual tombstones, representative markers indicated their significance.

Pvt. James Keeling, 69th North Carolina Infantry (Thomas's Legion), is one to those buried here. On the night of November 8, 1861, the Confederate sentry singlehandedly saved the vital railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains from destruction by would-be Unionist saboteurs. The sobriquet "Defender of the Bridge" is incised on the small obelisk that marks his grave.

East Hill Cemetery during a funeral for a prominent local resident, ca. 1900 Courtesy Bristol Historical Society

Bristol, Main Street, ca.1900, Nichols House Hotel (left) served as a hospital during the war. Courtesy Bristol Historical Society
HM NumberHM19SQ
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 10:35am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 395307 N 4050444
Decimal Degrees36.59375000, -82.17041667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 35.625', W 82° 10.225'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 35' 37.50" N, 82° 10' 13.50" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)423
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 701-799 E Hill Cemetery Dr, Bristol TN 37620, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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