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Freedmen's Cemetery

At war’s end, responsibility for Freedmen’s Cemetery was transferred to the new Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. When Congress curtailed nearly all Freedmen’s Bureau’s functions at the end of 1868, the cemetery, with its more than 1,700 burials, was closed. The parcel’s former owner, attorney Francis Smith, reclaimed it. For eight decades, it remained largely undisturbed, but the wood grave markers quickly rotted away. In 1917, the Smith family conveyed the property to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which maintained its own cemetery across the street. In 1946, the parcel was rezoned for commercial use and sold. A gas station was erected in 1955, followed by an office building. In spite of these, and the construction of Interstate Route 95 to the south, hundreds of graves probably remain.