Fort Devens Post Cemetery
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Fort Devens Post Cemetery

Devens, Worcester County , Massachusetts, USA

About

Open daily from dawn to dusk.

FAX: 508-564-9946

The cemetery at Fort Devens was dedicated in 1939 and an opening ceremony was held in the spring of 1940. It was constructed over a two-year period by labor supplied by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), replacing the original cemetery at Fort Devens which had been established in 1931. This first burial ground, called Malvern Hill Cemetery, was located west of Verbeck Gate on a bluff by the tennis courts and the athletic field. A new cemetery was one of the many projects recommended for approval in 1934 as part of the Army's commitment to an overall upgrading of camps to permanent military posts.

The cemetery has a capacity for 1020 graves and its major period of use dates from its establishment in 1940 to the present. The remains of 34 graves were transferred from the original cemetery at Camp Devens and re-interred at the new cemetery when it was dedicated in June 1939. These graves included one warrant officer, 16 enlisted men, and 17 civilians including children of officers and soldiers. The cemetery also contains 97 graves transferred from several cemeteries at Boston Harbor forts including Fort Independence, Fort Warren and Resthaven Cemetery, Deer Island. The oldest grave in this group is that of Lt. Robert Massie, from Virginia, who fought in the War of 1812 and died in a duel in 1817. Next to Massie's grave, in the northeast corner of the cemetery, is a large, flat stone marking the grave of Civil War soldier Edward T. Johnston, a first assistant engineer in the Confederate Navy. He was made a prisoner of war when his ship, the Atlanta was sunk by the Union Army and he died in captivity in 1863.

Many graves date from the two World Wars and other mid twentieth century armed conflicts. 22 German and Italian prisoners of war who were captured in North Africa and held at Fort Devens between 1943 and 1946 are buried here. This group of graves includes that of a German U-boat Commander, Captain Friederic Steinhoff, who surrendered at the New Hampshire Navy Yard. Steinhoff, his brother, and Werner von Brown developed the underwater missile system used during World War II.

The cemetery sits on 2.09 acres. The earliest death date is 1817. (due to re-interment)

The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as HRV.803 Fort Devens Cemetery.

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Photos

  • Added: 11 Jun 2001
  • Find a Grave Cemetery ID: 555429