HISTORICAL INFORMATION (from http://www.cem.va.gov/CEMs/nchp/alexandriava.asp)
Alexandria National Cemetery is located near the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va., amid several other community cemeteries. The original cemetery consisted of approximately four acres known as Spring Garden Farm. Most of this land was acquired by the United States in the 1860s, and by November 1870 the cemetery had reached its current size of a little over five acres.
Alexandria was one of the principal campsites for Union soldiers sent to defend Washington, D.C., at the outbreak of the Civil War. These troops, composed primarily of “three-month volunteers,” were unprepared for the demands of war. When they tried to turn the Southern advance at Bull Run, they were decisively defeated and hastily retreated back to Washington. At one point in the war, General Robert E. Lee and his Southern troops rode the outskirts of Alexandria where they were close enough to view the Capital dome. As the tide of the war turned, especially after Gettysburg, the frontlines of the war moved west and away from Washington, D.C. The fortress area at Alexandria, however, continued to serve as a major supply and replacement center throughout the remainder of the war.
Alexandria National Cemetery is one of the original 14 national cemeteries established in 1862. The first burials made in the cemetery were soldiers who died during training or from disease in the numerous hospitals around Alexandria. By 1864, the cemetery was nearly filled to capacity, which eventually led to the planning, development and construction of Arlington National Cemetery.