Monday, July 14, 2014

Graves Marked in Missouri

Efforts to mark Civil War graves bring mixed results, mixed feelings

Capitol Monuments Inc. workers, from left, Bryan Moore, Jerrod Atteberry and Nathan Conner finish installation of a monument Friday near Calwood township in Callaway County. The monument is intended to honor the men who died on both sides of the Battle of Moore’s Mill on July 28, 1862. A formal ceremony to dedicate the monument will be held at 1 p.m. July 27.
CALWOOD — On a hot late-July day in 1862, the victors at the Battle of Moore’s Mill had a grisly task ahead: bury the dead from a ferocious, four-hour fight. They chose a low spot near a creek, where the ground was soft and sandy, and laid eight Union soldiers from four states alongside two of their Missouri rebel foes.
On Friday, a 2,000-pound Georgia granite monument to those men and 14 others — eight Union and six Confederates — was set in place at the gravesite, located last year with ground-penetrating radar. A formal ceremony at 1 p.m. July 27, with a cannon salute and re-enactors representing both sides, will dedicate the marker on the property of Gus Guthrie, just west of Calwood on Route Z.
“It is exactly what I hoped it would be,” said Noel Crowson, commander of Elijah Gates Camp 570 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which sponsored both the search for the mass grave and the monument. The ceremony will complete a 20-year project that has included placing interpretive panels at the main battle site.
The monument has the names of 24 men, the known dead from the July 27, 1862, battle. The Union soldiers in the grave are believed to be four men from Ohio and one from Michigan of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, one from the 3rd Indiana Light Artillery and Pvt. Lewis Snowden of Columbia from the 9th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
The Confederates are Pvt. Henry Pigg of the Blackfoot Rangers of Boone County and Pvt. James Fowler of Monroe County from the 1st Northeast Missouri Cavalry.
The monument cost $5,000, a daunting fundraising task for the small Southern heritage group. Remembering the men who fought, finding their graves and making sure they are marked is one of the major projects of similar groups representing both sides of the Civil War. The results of those efforts can be satisfying, frustrating and controversial.
Friday was one of the satisfying days. A Columbia effort to mark a Union soldier’s grave has experienced the frustration and the stone recently placed for one of William Quantrill’s guerrillas offers the controversy.
The Tiger Camp 432 of the Sons of Union Veterans has twice been turned down by the Department of Veterans Affairs for a stone for the grave of Sgt. Wallace Lilly in Columbia Cemetery.
Lilly, a slave, enlisted April 13, 1864. He lived until 1926 with his wife at a place called Cemetery Hill, now occupied by Lucky’s Market. Under the department’s rules, only the next of kin can request a marker. As far as can be determined, Tiger Camp member Larry Dietzel said, Lilly and his wife, Mary, had no children.
Lilly led Grand Army of the Republic Post 432, a Union veterans organization. As members died, Lilly made sure that markers were placed.
“We are doing this to bring attention to that one veteran who has no marker,” Dietzel said. “When he passed, nobody stepped up and made sure it was marked with a tombstone.”
A replica of the standard marker will cost $400 after a donation by Missouri River Monument Co., Dietzel said. The camp is raising money to cover the expense.
The black granite marker erected for William R. Stewart, who died in 1924, will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 23, said Mark Stuart, commander of James J. Searcy Camp 1923 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Stewart joined Quantrill in 1863. He was 18 and being raised by his grandfather, John M. Robinson.
Stewart participated in the Aug. 21, 1863, attack on Lawrence, Kan., that left nearly 200 men and boys dead and the town a smoldering ruin. He was a member of William “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s band in 1864 and was slightly wounded attacking Fayette. Three days later, Anderson’s band was at Centralia, where 22 unarmed soldiers were shot and a command of 125 that sought to attack the guerrillas was annihilated.
“We are going to keep it as low-key as we can,” Stuart said. “We are going to be there to honor the man’s service, not to draw attention.”
As Quantrill did with Southern leaders during the war, the decision to honor one of his men has created misgivings for Bill Berry, a member of the Searcy camp. “I have rather mixed feelings about it,” Berry said. “We have good, solid, Confederate soldiers in Boone County.”