The Soldiers National Monument is at the center of “two semi-circular sections” with 18 Union states’ areas, a US Regulars area and 3 areas for graves of the unknown.
After the July 1863 battle, land preservation began by August 5 with attorney David McConaughy’s purchases including “the heights of Cemetery Hill” which he planned for a soldiers’ cemetery where lots could be purchased for reinterring soldiers. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin’s agent, attorney David Wills, acquired the land for the commonwealth, commissioned the landscape architect, William Saunders, contracted for the reinterments, and planned the November consecration—inviting Abraham Lincoln who delivered the Gettysburg Address. Union remains were transferred from the Gettysburg Battlefield burial plots on Cemetery Hill, local church cemeteries, field hospital burial sites, the "U. S. A. General Hospital, York, Pa and the Valley of Death where unburied soldiers decomposed in place.
The Gettysburg National Cemetery is a Gettysburg Battlefield site designated as a district of the Gettysburg National Military Park. Originating as an 1863 state-owned “national cemetery” with Union reinterments from Battle of Gettysburg graves, the cemetery has subsequent sections for Spanish-American War, World War I, and other wars’ soldiers and their spouses and children.