Gone But Not Forgotten
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Upon the grassy hilltop of Point Loma, over looking the Submarine Base immediately below, row after row of white marble headstones dot the hillside which bears evidence of more than a century and a half of California's military history.
The origins of this hillside cemetery dates back to February 1852 when President Fillmore set aside the southern portion of Point Loma (about 1,400 acres) for military purposes. Subsequently, it was assigned to the U.S. Army and named Fort Rosecrans, after Civil War strategist Major General William Starke Rosecrans, a 1842 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.
The (then) one acre cemetery was located on the crest of the point and first was used in the 1860s as a burial-ground for the San Diego Barracks –simply known as "Post Cemetery, San Diego Barracks (Point Loma)". When the fort was established a few years later, it became known as Fort Rosecrans Post Cemetery and was so designated until 1934 when it became Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Originally about one acre in size, it now is over forty times that size. Today, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery serves as the final resting place for thousands of veterans of the Armed Forces who answered the call of duty in the nation's service. Included among this number are 22 Medal of Honor recipients. Of the Medal recipients honored at Fort Rosecrans, three served in the Army, 12 in the Navy, and six in the Marine Corps. Medal recipients span military history itself –including the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the U.S. intervention in the Mexican revolution in 1914-1915, the explosion of the USS Bennington in San Diego Harbor in 1905, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Yet this century-old cemetery is also a part of California's early military history. It is the burial place that pays homage to the men who fell at the battle of San Pasqual, whose efforts during the Mexican War helped to bring about the admission of California to the United States.
Inside the stone wall of the original area lies the remains of the soldiers of the First Dragoons who were killed on December 6, 1846, at San Pasqual. A granite boulder from this battlefield bears a bronze plaque with the names of the soldiers who were killed there, while nearby are the graves of the two company commanders, Captain. Benjamin D. Moore and his brother-in-law, 2nd Lieutenant. Thomas C. Hammond, killed while leading the attack. Also located nearby is the grave of Albert B. Smith, who is credited with spiking the Mexican guns at the Old Town Presidio during that war and who nailed the American flag to the flagpole in the Plaza, while under fire by Mexican snipers.
EXPLORED - Best Position: #122 on May 7, 2011
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L