The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 10, 2014

Because of You, We are Free

Confederate Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA

In honor of all veterans who fought in honor of our country.  Freedom ain't free.  Thank you for your service, and in many cases, for your sacrifice.

William F. Dickes "died in Montgomery, AL in the service of his country" in 1865.  Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

A metal marker for a Grand Army of the Republic, the military fraternal organization for Union veterans of the Civil War.  This is for A.W. Price, who served in the US Navy, and was a member of the Alexander Hamilton Post of NY (think they got their wars mixed up?), Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ


George W. Perry served in the Civil War, Hillcrest Cemetery, Roslyn, PA


Silas Solomon was a Union veteran and a GAR member, Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA


Another member of the Alexander Hamilton GAR post of NY, this is for W.C. King.  And it's in front of a massive beech tree (I call them elephant beeches) and believe it or not, this is in the heart of Newark, NJ.  Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ


'Nuff said, Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA 


William Kuntz was a member of the PA 153rd, same regiment as my great-great-great grandfather, John L. Koken (Grandpa served in Co. F and was shot through the lung on the first day of Gettysburg.  Somehow, he survived after a massive loss of blood.  Which is a good thing, as I wouldn't be here to write this blog if he didn't!), St. Paul's UCC Indianland Church Cemetery, Cherryville, PA


This Union veteran and GAR member was also a member of the fraternal organization called "Brotherhood of America," first called "Brotherhood of the Union."  Fascinating organization and originator:  see my blog entry  St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Lafayette Hill, PA


A very simple marker for the Grand Army of the Republic, Tennent Presbyterian Cemetery, Malapan, NJ


Love the markers for the GAR posts in Philadelphia, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA


Symbol for the Union Army, II Corps, 72nd Regiment of PA Volunteers, Ivy Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


I'd love to learn more about James Bird, who fought in the War of 1812.  He served with great distinction in the Battle of Lake Erie, and then apparently left his command there to join the army at New Orleans (to follow Andrew Jackson, no doubt) and was "condemned, shot and buried at Erie" in 1814.  The Daughters of 1812 had him reinterred in Luzerne Co in 1935.  Fascinating.  Forty Fort Cemetery, Forty Fort, PA


William Osterday survived the War of 1812, St. Paul's UCC Indianland Church Cemetery, Cherryville, PA


Another War of 1812 veteran, Trinity Great Swamp UCC Cemetery, Spinnerstown, PA


Oscar Gutman served in the Army Corp of Engineers (their symbol is the medieval-looking castle/armory)--not positive if this was in WWI, WWII, or both, Sons of Israel Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA


Basil Biggs was not a war veteran, but a free African American living in Gettysburg at the time of the Civil War battle.  He was paid to bury the dead after the battle, gathering them from temporary graves and the battlefield and putting them in coffins and reburying them.  He was paid $1.25 per body.  The stench from the dead bodies baking in the summer heat must have been incredible.  Later Biggs used his earnings to buy a farm and acquire land for African-American cemeteries, including the one he is buried in, Lincoln Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA


James Bennighoff served in the US Calvary during the Civil War, Slatington Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA


Marker for Col. James Ashworth GAR Post that was based in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Stephen S. Whinna died from wounds he received in the Battle of Petersburg in June of 1864.  He was shot in the shoulder and lung and died in a hospital in NY.  Before the war, he was a fancy soap maker and perfumer.  He was 24 when he died.  Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Samuel G. Rogers died at age 32 from wounds he received during the 2nd day of Gettysburg.  The 3 rings at the top of his stone show he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Detail of the military monument at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Major Edwin A. Glenn fell at Five Forks, VA, aged 30---just 9 days before the end of the Civil War.  He had been promoted in March 1865 to Lt. Colonel for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Lewis' Farm in VA.  Three days before he died, he was brevetted Colonel for conspicuous gallantry at the Battle of White Oak Road and Five Forks.  The Union League of Philadelphia erected this monument for Glenn, who was a member of the 6th Union League Regiment.  The Union League of Philadelphia was founded in 1862 as patriotic society to support the Union cause.  Its headquarters in Philly is designed in the French Renaissance style, take up an entire city block, and are incredible to visit.  Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Joseph Batt's tombstone most likely had a photograph of him protected by a piece of glass.  Note the cannon balls and cannon in the carving, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia


The Stott Family monument:  19-yr-old John Stott was "lost" at the Battle of Balls Bluff (VA).  His brother Thomas C. Stott died a prisoner of war in NC at age 20.  So sad...  I would guess that John's body was never recovered, and this is a memorial to him, rather than a grave marker.  He might have been one of the many men who were drowned in the poorly planned crossing of the Potomac.  And Thomas was probably one of the POWs that had to live outdoors in burrows dug in the clay soil.  War only makes sense when you're not on the frontlines.  Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


J.R. Gunliffe served in the Confederate Army and was a seasoned veteran when he was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, not long after he was part of the rebel force that had driven the Union forces back.  Confederate Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA


Brother of J.R. Gunliffe, W.E. Gunliffe enlisted in the Confederate army near the start of the hostilities, and was an experienced soldier at the time of his death.  He was riding with Stonewall Jackson in the dark woods after the Battle of Chancellorsville, and was struck by the same volley that also took the life of Jackson (Confederate forces mistook Jackson and company for the enemy and shot them accidentally).  W.E. Gunliffe lasted only 30 hours after being shot, Confederate Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA


Andrew B. Bowering served in his regiment's band and survived the Civil War.  He wrote the funeral dirge and led the band during the funeral procession for Stonewall Jackson, Confederate Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA


Robert B. Dyer survived the Civil War, where he had been a member of the Corn Exchange Regiment, so called because the money needed to raise the regiment, plus a $10 bounty for each volunteer, was furnished by the Corn Exchange Association of Philadelphia.  (Their bank building still exists at 2nd and Gold Streets and was famously robbed by Willie Sutton in 1933 (foiled by a passerby) and 1934 (success, but caught a few months later)).  The Corn Exchange Bank started in the 1850's in NY, and the bank served primarily the grain, cotton and coffee trades.  Pennepack Baptist Church Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Martin Schaffner was 22 when he died in 1861 at Stevenson Depot, VA.  He was the youngest of 12 children in a Pennsylvania German family, Ebenezer Cemetery, Lebanon, PA


Sylvester D. Rhodes won the Congressional Medal of Honor because of his service during the Battle of Fishers Hill, VA on September 22, 1864.  Rhodes was on the skirmish line which drove the enemy from the first entrenchment and was the first man to enter the breastworks, capturing one of the guns and turning it upon the enemy.  Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA


Thomas Brown died at age 27 from disease he contracted as Andersonville Prison in GA.  Andersonville was the South's most notorious POW camp and I can't even look at the photos that survive of the prisoners there.  They look like skeletons with tightly stretched skin over them.  God bless Thomas and his fellow prisoners.  Ivy Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


Gerald Conrad died at age 17 at Culpeper Courthouse, VA.  (Culpeper is spelled wrong on the tombstone)  My guess is Gerald was in the band, a trumpeter.  West Lenox Baptist Cemetery, West Lenox, PA


William J. Roth was also only 17 when he died at a hospital in Berrysville, VA in 1863.  A year later, the Battle of Berrysville took place near the end of the war, with inconclusive results (as were so many of the battles of that bloody war), Friedens UCC Cemetery, Slatington, PA


The Civil War saw the enlistment of thousands of Pennsylvania Germans (like my g-g-g-grandfather), who may not have spoken or been able to read English, but felt strongly American nevertheless.  I can't decipher all of this, but Paul Sauerwein was just shy of his 20th birthday when he died in 1864.   Friedens UCC Cemetery, Slatington, PA


The symbol for the Marquis de Lafayette Post #140 of the GAR (I guess many of the chapters/posts named themselves after gallant Revolutionary War figures, and that makes sense as they were forming in the 10 years after the Civil War, as the country was approaching the 100th anniversary of the Revolutionary War).  The Lafayette Post was from NY, although Henry Clay Craig was a lifelong resident of Georgetown.  He was involved with railroads, but his obituary fails to mention anything about any military service.  I think it belongs to Henry Clay Logan, located behind the Craig tombstone but in the same plot, who fought with the PA 118th (the Corn Exchange boys) and survived the war.  Logan was also involved with railroads and died at his home in NY, but is buried here, Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC.


A great granite carving of the medal of the Grand Army of the Republic, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC


I love these markers, St. James Episcopal Church Cemetery, Evansburg, PA


I wish this was in better condition, as I would love to see the eagle when it was first carved.  Capt. Charles H. Flagg was in charge of Co. K of the 142nd PA regiment.  On the 3rd day of the Battle of Gettysburg, towards evening, when it was almost over, he was killed by an artillery shell.  Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA


Clayton D. Beers died not in battle in Europe during WWI, but in Camp Lee, VA, from the Spanish Flu.  The deadliest epidemic the known world has ever seen, the Spanish Influenza killed AT LEAST 50 million people worldwide in 2 years.  No, that is not a typo, but more than likely is an understatement, as in many areas, the living were so busy nursing the sick and trying to bury the dead and hoping they themselves did not succumb, the last thing they were concerned about was filling out death certificates correctly.  The Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain, but was called this because Spain, neutral in WWI, reported its citizens' deaths, as opposed to the countries at war (Britain, France, Germany and the US, etc).  Those countries minimized the massive death toll from the flu virus to not affect wartime morale.  The flu virus was atypically virulent for people aged 15-45, and killed many young people in the prime of their lives.  (Normally the flu kills infants and the elderly).  Where did the Spanish flu virus originate?  That is still debated almost 100 years later, but it could have started in Kansas or in China and then spread so rapidly because of the increased mobility of wartime activities.  Military camps on the east coast of the US were particularly hard hit, with its victims being stricken quickly and dying just as fast, with terrible pain.  50,000,000...look at all those zeros.  The Civil War killed more than 600,000.  The Spanish Flu, in terms of its casualties, killed 83 times as many people.  It staggers the mind.

Not to take away anything from Clayton Beers---he is still a veteran, as he was enlisted when he died and was planning on being deployed to the front in Europe.  He was 25 when he died.  The quote on his tombstone can speak for all of our veterans:  "I have fought a good fight.  I have stayed the course.  I have kept the faith."  And thank God our veterans kept the faith.  For the land of the free exists because it's the home of the brave. 

**Special thanks to my husband who tolerated many hours in cemeteries in Washington and Fredericksburg last year, and who is my favorite Gettysburg compatriot.