In 1866 Lieutenant Colonel James Moore selected a 1.3-acre site approximately eight miles southeast of Richmond, which was then appropriated by the U.S. government for the interment of Union casualties from the Battle of Fair Oaks Station (also known as the Battle of Seven Pines). Adjacent parcels were added in 1873 and 1875, expanding the burial ground to a 1.9-acre, square-shaped site that is today surrounded by businesses and residential neighborhoods. Approximately 1,800 people, including over 1,200 unidentified and 150 known Civil War soldiers, are buried there.
Bordered by a row of seven evenly spaced pines at its southern edge, with mature trees sparsely planted to the west, the interior of this flat, grassy landscape is otherwise devoid of plantings. A grove of canopy shade trees abuts the cemetery to the north. The uniform treatment of the burial ground includes identical upright marble headstones organized in evenly spaced rows. A four-foot-tall brick wall and two wrought-iron gates supported by stone piers were constructed in 1876 to enclose the site, with the main entrance centrally located along the southern wall. A flag pole and a 7.5-foot-tall monument composed of an original cast-iron artillery tube secured on a concrete base lie at the center of the cemetery. An L-shaped brick-and-stone superintendent’s lodge, designed by U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, was built at the southeast corner of the site in 1874 and provides the only vehicular access to the graveyard, which is otherwise devoid of paths or roadways.
Officially closed to new burials in 1964, the cemetery is now maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Seven Pines National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.