The damage was discovered Saturday afternoon at the cemetery on North Cool Spring Street. Police say they suspect vandals rampaged through the city cemetery sometime Friday night.
Bruce Daws, a Fayetteville historian, says the cemetery dates back to the founding fathers of Fayetteville and their monuments are works of art.
Officials say Cross Creek was established in 1785, and many of Fayetteville's prominent early citizens are buried there. Many Union and Confederate who died in the Civil War also are buried there.
"The people that settled the area are buried here," he said. "Veterans are buried here. It's just a special cemetery."
"The worst part of this is it's somebody's graves," Fayetteville Police Detective Paul Davis said. "They are supposed to rest in peace their graves have been disturbed."
Police say around 50 markers were damaged or destroyed -- some simply pushed over, while others were smashed and crumbled.
Many of the stones weigh hundreds, even thousands of pounds, which is why police think there was more than one vandal involved.
"Right now we don't have any witnesses or names or known suspects no clues to go by," Fayetteville Police Detective Paul Davis said.
Four years ago, a homeless man was arrested and charged with damaging more than 100 grave stones. City officials raised thousands of dollars in grants and donations to try and repair as many markers as they could.
Some of the repaired stones are damaged again. Daws says it may be next to impossible to put the pieces of history back together.
Anyone who can lead police to the vandals is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (910) 483-TIPS.