The 1862 Unit
It’s about more than remembering—it’s about doing something.
The research was a wonderful way to learn about the men and honor them, but to the great dismay of the reenactors, not all of the graves of these veterans are marked. It was something they could not let go unnoticed. Knowing the Veteran’s Administration will provide a military marker free of charge to any honorably discharged veteran, the members of the reenacting Battery have taken on the mission of placing a grave marker for every Second Battery veteran they find who rests in an unmarked grave.
Between 2002 and 2009, the group has placed 24 markers on graves of Battery men who had no marker. Sometimes, money is a factor and a sponsor must be found to help with the cost of setting the stone. The reenacting Battery is a 501 c (3) non profit organization and does not have a great deal of ready cash, so they often partner with a local veterans organization. The VFW or American Legion in the area of the grave is contacted and asked to help pay for the cost of setting the stone in exchange for a dedication ceremony open to the public.
It has been a partnership that has benefits for both organizations and has touched the hearts of participants and guests alike. Not all graves have been dedicated with the special ceremony and firing of honor volleys by the cannon. There have been some cases where the ceremony was simply not practical and the stone was put in to remember and mark a veteran’s grave. This was the case with a stone placed on Ferdinand Lemay’s grave in Canada—taking a cannon across the border is simply not practical!
As of the beginning of 2010, there are at least five Battery veterans who still lie in unmarked graves, waiting for the proper paperwork—or in some cases, a partner who can help with the expenses—to allow a stone to be ordered and set.
It often takes a year or more to complete the process to get a gravestone set after finding the grave. Just finding the grave can be no small undertaking. Members doing the research have been looking for some graves for years and still do not know where they are. There are 17 men we cannot find at this time. But we haven’t given up. We are still looking and when they are found, if it is at all possible, they will be marked.
At this point in the project, there are only a handful of Battery veterans that are “still in the works” to get a marker. These are held up for a variety of reasons—incomplete paperwork and the needed document is missing; cemetery rules or legislation about marking a grave of someone not a family member; questions about the certainty of the grave location; cost of setting the stone; etc.
You Can Help!
We are looking for sponsors to help us place grave markers for a few of these men. If you have contacts to a local veterans organization or another organization who might sponsor a stone setting and could help make connections for permission, please contact the 2nd Minnesota through this email: email@example.com
- John Green – Crown Hill Cemetery, Seattle, Washington
- George Hitchcock – Greenwood Cemetery, Renton Washington
- Edward Tillotson—St. Paul, Minnesota (In progress)
- John Phelps, Maine, Minnesota
- Alexander Kinkead, California (In progress)
Grave Stones Set So Far
The following are the grave stones set thus far:
|Soldier||Location||Date Stone Set|
|John D. Miles (a.k.a. Daniel Sandborn)||Long Prairie, MN||May 2002|
|Edward Bloomfield||Sauk Centre, MN||October 2002|
|Seneca Lent||Sioux City, IA||2002|
|Benjamin Joy||St. Paul, MN||2002|
|Ole Henderson||Spring Grove, MN||2002|
|Richard Dawley||St. Charles, MN||May 2003|
|Alonzo Mixter||St. Peter, MN||June 2003|
|Newbry Briggs||Little Falls, MN||June 2003|
|Jackson Taylor||Buffalo, MN||October 2003|
|Leiscester Goodell||Excelsior Springs, MO||November 2003|
|Christopher Johnson||Leroy, MN||May 2004|
|James Furguson||Eden Prairie, MN||June 2004|
|Julius Slocum||Marion, MN||October 2004|
|Phillip Sargent||Fort Worth, TX||November 2004|
|Carl Olson||Rochester, MN||May 2005|
|Franz Zahler||Minneapolis, MN||June 2006|
|Albert Gowdy||Minneapolis, MN||July 2006|
|James M. Lane||Minneapolis, MN||July 2006|
|Andrew Erickson||Minneapolis, MN||July 2006|
|Halvor Evenson||Farmington, MN||July 2006|
|Ferdinand Lemay||Stehbridge, Canada||2007|
|William Kinkead||St. Cloud, MN||2008|
|Louis Benge||Jefferson, IN||2008|
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