The Early Years
In 1868, the Naval Academy purchased from the Reese family a sixty-seven acre tract called Strawberry Hill as part of its expansion efforts after the Civil War. A parcel of this land became the Cemetery within a year of its acquisition. An 1860 Map of Annapolis shows the peninsula on which the Cemetery is now located. According to the map, Dr. Mackubin owned the land at that time.
As early as July 1869, visitors admired its wooded and grass-strewn landscape and that of the nearby park:
On a high point of land in this last purchase, has been laid out a Cemetery for the burial of Officers and Seamen and others belonging to the Navy. Beyond the Cemetery there is a handsome Park. The park and cemetery consist of alternate wood and lawn, with considerable diversity of level. Winding woods and paths have been laid out in very tasteful manner, making all parts accessible. So attractive are these two places that although the improvements are scarcely yet begun, they have become a very favorite resort for the people in the vicinity, a large number of persons visiting each, every pleasant day.