Thursday, September 23, 2010

SCV and VFW Join Forces to Honor Confederate Veteran

September 22, 2010

Paying Tribute
VFW dedicates marker of Confederate soldier
Wed Sep 22, 2010

PINE KNOT — To passersby, it may have appeared to be a routine military funeral occurring at Pine Knot Cemetery over the weekend. But a closer inspection would have revealed details not routinely witnessed in more than a 100 years.

On Saturday morning, the Charles Moore VFW Post 5127 joined forces with the Cumberland Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Kentucky Division to memorialize the grave of James S. Ward, who fought with the “Lynchburg Rifles” during the Civil War.

When VFW member Dan DeLaughter learned that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs could provide military markers for Confederate veterans, he and historian Sam Perry (also a VFW member) set about applying for a stone to mark the only known local grave of a Confederate veteran.

Born on January 10, 1834, in Campbell County, Virginia, Ward was working as a farmer when his home state seceded from the Union in 1861. Ward enlisted in the 11th Virginia Infantry Regiment and was assigned to Company E, popularly known as the Lynchburg Rifles.

The 11th Regiment fought in many battles, including Sayler’s Creek where it is believed that a wounded Ward was captured as a prisoner of war. He wasn’t released until Lee’s surrender in April 1865. After taking an oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution, Ward returned to farming until he moved to Kentucky in the late 1870s to work for the Cincinnati Southern Railroad.

Ward was a trackwalker who kept the rails free from debris until he retired at the age of 90. He died at his home in Pine Knot on March 25, 1932, at the age of 98.

Through two marriages, Ward fathered eight children: Edward (who was posthumously honored last year for his contribution to Army aviation), Minnie, Lula, Alice, Etta, Rosetta, Grace and James W.

Ward’s descendants were among those in attendance at Saturday’s ceremony, which Moses Hamlin of the Cumberland Brigade said would resemble a burial that could have occurred on a Civil War battlefield. The service concluded with a flag presentation to Bill Stephens, a grandson who still lives in McCreary County, and an unveiling of the military marker.