A very impressive day of service at Lineville Methodist Church! I want to thank all the Riflemen who made the trip to save the beautiful G.A.R. stained glass window from demolition. A fantastic job, ‘Boys’…Well Done, Brothers! You make me proud to be part of this honorable group!
In Admiration, Cpl Stahr
1Sgt Lamb 08 Apr : 10:50
The regiment extends it's most hearty congratulations to Patrick Palmersheim, former Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Iowa on the receipt of the "Medal of Honor" of the Iowa Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
An accolade, well earned and deeply deserved.
Well done, Patrick!
1/Lt. D. Lamb For the Regiment
1Sgt Lamb 08 Apr : 10:49
The regiment extends it's most hearty best wishes to long-time Fayette County, Iowa Historian Frances Graham on her induction into the Loyal Legion of Abraham Lincoln. With her acceptance of this award, mrs Graham joins a very small and select of people who have made monumental contributions to the history of this state and our nation.
1/Lt. D, Lamb For the Regiment
1Sgt Lamb 08 Apr : 09:41
The Regiment Owes an incredible debt of thanks to 2nd Lt. Krock and 1/Sgt Thompson for their attendance at the 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Shiloh; and, for showing the Colors of the 49th Iowa upon those "Fields of Glory" on behalf of us all. Your selfless dedication to remembering the sacrifices made upon those fields by our own ancestors brings credit upon them, this Regiment and yourselves and your service to our causes is truly appreciated!
Well done Gentlemen!
1/Lt. D. M. Lamb commanding
Cpl Stahr 06 Apr : 10:22
150 Years Ago Today… Remembering my nineteen year old Great Granduncle 5th Sgt. Theo Schreiner, Co. K, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded and captured this morning by Wharton’s Texas Rangers at Owl Creek Bridge: The Battle of Shiloh
Submitted in Remembrance,
1/Cpl Cpl Stahr
Cpl Stahr 22 Mar : 07:55
Congratulation RCS & Brother Michael Rowley for a well deserved, earned award and recognition. Well Done, Sir.
The motto of Company “A” 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Invitation to Vicksburg Battlefield Iowa Monument Re-Dedication
Brothers and Sisters of The SUVCW and Allied Orders of the Grand Army of the Republic
The Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and Company A, 49th Regiment, Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry/SVR The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles Honor Guard to the Department of Iowa and Personal Honor Guard to the Governors of Iowa
Wish to cordially invite you to attend the exercises marking the formal re-dedication of the Iowa Monument at the Vicksburg National Battlefield Military Park to be held on
SATURDAY May 25th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at the site of the monument on the Battlefield at Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Please join the Department of Iowa, the 49th Iowa, Governor Terry E. Branstad of Iowa; Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief/SUVCW, Dr. Donald D. Palmer, Jr.; Commander-in-Chief/ MOLLUS, Mr. Jefry Burden; Superintendant Michael Madell, VBNMP/NPS and other national and local dignitaries as we re-dedicate the monument first erected in 1906 by the citizens of Iowa to honor the 30,000 Iowa volunteers who participated in the battles known collectively as “The Siege of Vicksburg” in the winter of 1862 and Spring of 1863.
Following efforts by members of our Order to enlist the bi-partisan aid of members of both the Iowa House and Senate during the 2012 legislative session; an appropriation of funds in excess of $300,000 dollars was signed into law by Governor Branstad the allowed the National Park Service to effect the total restoration and renovation of this monument erected by our ancestors to the struggles endured during the longest running continuous military siege to take place on American soil.
For further information, please visit the websites of;
On Saturday, May 11, 2013, members of the 49th Iowa Infantry, Iowa SUVCW, the Colfax AMVETs and the Colfax American Legion participated in the Ritual of Dedication Of Headstone for Jacob Binkerd, who served in Company “B”, 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Jacob Binkerd died early in November 1921, in California. His body was transported by rail to Jasper County. For 68 years Jacob laid in an unmarked grave. For the next 24 years, though purely unintentional, his grave was marked as that of a Confederate Soldier. Marked as that of the enemy to whom he and his two brothers left Iowa to fight. Jacob Binkerd, was honored as soldier for the Union cause, a volunteer from Iowa, a patriot from Jasper County.
It was our obligation, our duty, and our honor as members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, as members of the Amvets, and as members of the American Legion, to perform these final rites. No matter the conflict, or passage of time, it is our sacred bond, as brothers, to come together, and pay our final respects to all who have worn the uniform of these United States. Those present from the 49th were, Corporals Andrew Braden, Jim Braden, Henry Krecklow, Ron Rittel, Dave Sample, Louie Zenti; Color Sergeants Richard Grim and Mike Rowley; and 2nd Lieutenant Danny Krock. Flowers were placed on the grave by Tom and Charlene Gaard of the Grenville M. Dodge Camp, who assisted the family; Deb Grim and Ron Rittel; and Isabella Zenti.
Jacob Binkerd was born March 26, 1841, in Montgomery County, Ohio, and died November 3, 1921, in San Jose, California. He was the third of nine children born to John and Judith (Johnson) Binkerd. About 1846, the Binkerd family moved to Iowa, locating in the southeast corner of Henry County, in the proximity of Geode State Park. By 1856, they had moved to Jasper County, just southeast of Newton in Buena Vista Township.
On October 4, 1861, at the age of 20, Jacob, his older brother Joseph, and 23 others from Jasper County enlisted in Company “B,” 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Their enlistment was for a period of three years or less if the war ended. Altogether, 105 men from Jasper County enlisted in Company “B,” in 1861. The 13th was mustered into service at Camp McClellan, Davenport, Iowa, on October 21. They remained at Camp McClellan a short time, and were then transported by steamer to Benton Barracks, near St. Louis, where they received about three weeks training.
Private Binkerd was issued his rifle and accoutrements on December 11, and was then transported by rail to Jefferson City, Missouri. This usually meant a car with no roof or one with open walls. The regiment remained at Jefferson City until March 1862, when it was ordered back to St. Louis. From St. Louis they traveled by steamer to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, arriving on March 23. Two weeks later, on the morning of April 6, 1862, the two Binkerd brothers and the 13th Iowa were sent headlong into their first engagement of the war, the Battle of Shiloh. Joseph took a bullet in the leg, and was among the 130 men of the 13th Iowa wounded that Sunday; 23 were killed. As a result of his wound, Joseph was discharged on June 3, and returned to Iowa.
Jacob and the 13th Iowa went on to fight in the battles of Corinth, Port Gibson, Raymond, Champion’s Hill, and Vicksburg. For the remainder of the summer of 1863, the regiment went on various expeditions, taking them as far as Monroe, Louisana. They returned to Vicksburg on September 3, and went into garrison for the next five months. From November through March, the original enlistments of the 13th Iowa expired. Jacob reenlisted for another three years on January 1, 1864. He was promoted First Corporal on January 22. On February 4, the regiment was sent to Meridian, Mississippi, to destroy railroad tracks, locomotives, rolling stock, and warehoused supplies stored for the rebels. They returned to Vicksburg on March 4.
Those that had reenlisted were given a 30-day furlough back home, which would begin once they arrived in Iowa. They left on March 7. While on this 30-day furlough Jacob married Margaret Jane “Mattie” Richey, on March 31, at the home place in Jasper County. Mattie was born in Franklin, Indiana, March 18, 1843, the daughter of Anderson and Nancy Ann (Cline) Richey. In 1850, the Richeys moved to Iowa and settled in Polk County. Anderson Richey only had fifty cents in his pocket, which he used to buy cornmeal and potatoes for his family. He had a land warrant from his grandfather’s service in the Revolutionary War, and exchanged that for a farm. In 1856, after making improvements to the land, he sold it, and moved to Jasper County.
At the expiration of their 30-day furlough, the Veterans were ordered to reassemble at Davenport and accompany the new recruits back to the regiment. Jacob was accompanied by his younger brother, Levi, who had enlisted the day before Jacob and Margaret were married. They proceeded through Cairo, Illinois, to Clifton, Tennesse, where they met up with the regiment. The 13th had orders to march across Tennessee and into Alabama to join up with General William Tecumseh Sherman on his campaign against Atlanta. The regiment was at Kennesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek, and The Chattahoochee.
Jacob Binkerd was wounded in action, before Atlanta, Georgia, July 21, 1864, a fact that, for some reason, does not appear in the State Adjutant General’s report. The casualty report does not indicate the nature of his wound. Levi Binkerd died of disease on July 25, 1864, in Rome, GA, having served less than four months.
The 13th went on to Atlanta, Jonesboro, the March to the Sea, and Bentonville. They continued through Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia, and arrived at Alexandria, Virginia on May 19, 1865. A week later they marched in the Grand Review at Washington City. Afterwards the 13th Iowa was transported by steamer to Louisville, Kentucky, where they were mustered out on July 21, taken by rail to Davenport, and disbanded on July 29.
Jacob returned to Margaret and to Jasper County. Following in his father’s footsteps, he had been a carpenter. In the 1900 U. S. Census, Margaret states she was the mother of four children, one living. In Jacob’s 1915 Pension Questionnaire, he lists four children giving their names and birth dates: Mary Ann, born September 21, 1866; Charles Joseph, born June 14, 1868, lived to be nine months and one day old; Elizabeth Ella, born March 27, 1870; and Frank Anderson, born February 1, 1872. Frank died in California, in 1962.
Jacob and Margaret called several places home throughout the course of their married life. They moved to Jefferson, Iowa after 1871 as both Mary Ann, who died in 1874, and Elizabeth Ella, who died in 1876, are buried there. The Binkerds were in Rosita, Colorado in 1880. They returned to Jasper County, where the 1885 census report lists Binkerd’s occupation as “Minerals.” Jake Binkerd was in Colfax engaged in drilling mineral wells in the “Spring City” in the 1888-1890 period. He drilled wells at the Ryan and Fry Hotels, installed a boiler in the Fry, and overhauled the tubing at the Grand. The family was in Parsons, Kansas, in 1903, where they lived for eight years at 2201 Washington Avenue. Jacob became a member of Parsons Post No. 81, Department of Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic in 1905, and served as Post Quartermaster for four years. The family moved to Edwards, Montana, in 1910, and Campbell, California, in 1914.
During Jacob’s military service he had been stricken with the measles, mumps, chronic diarrhea, rheumatism, and sun stroke. He applied for an invalid pension on September 9, 1881, and filled out a Pension Questionnaire on April 1, 1915. Margaret died on September 26, 1917, in Campbell, California, and is buried in McKeever Cemetery, two miles north of Colfax, Iowa. Jacob died four years later of kidney disease, and is also buried there. He was 80 years, 7 months, and 8 days old.
Margaret’s parents, Anderson and Nancy Richey, are also buried in McKeever. Levi Binkerd is buried in the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. Joseph Binkerd died February 2, 1897, and is buried at McKeever. Others from Company “B” buried in this cemetery are William Foy, George McKeever (stone only), Ransom Willis Rowe (stone only), and Leander C. Westfall.
From November 14, 1864 to May 1865 Corporal Binkerd was detailed as Regimental Banner Bearer. On February 16, 1865, it was agreed that the rebel forces would withdraw and surrender Columbia, South to General Sherman’s army. South Carolina was the first state in rebellion to fire upon Union forces, and Columbia is where the first Articles of Secession were signed. On February 17, Jacob Binkerd with Captain William H. Goodrell, of Company “B,” 15th Iowa, captured a large Confederate flag stretched along the north wall of the unfinished new State Capitol building. Jacob also assisted in hoisting the first United States flag over the old Capitol since the rebellion commenced.
On the morning of the 17th, General Sherman determined that Crocker’s Iowa Brigade would have the honor of being first into the city and first to raise the United States Flag over the South Carolina state house. At 9 a.m. twenty-four men, including three officers, rowed across the river in “an old rickety, leaky, flat ferry boat” into Columbia. Stragglers of the rebel army were still present and firing rounds in the city. This small band of men met with the Mayor at 10 a.m., who stated that “in all sincerity, the city is surrendering”. A Colonel, a Major and a Color Bearer, forced their way into the statehouse, forcing doors open. They were soon met by the hurried janitor, with keys in hand, who led them to the roof. It was there that the National Colors were planted atop the South Carolina Capitol by Color Bearer Jacob Binkerd.
After a time and considering that all was secure, he fastened the Standard to the railing and wandered down into the chambers of the House of Representatives to look for souvenirs. When he returned to the roof, he found the flag gone. There in its place waved the flag of the 30th Iowa Infantry. Asking as to the where-abouts of the flag they said “there was no flag here when we arrived”. Two weeks later the 30th Iowa returned the missing flag to the 13th.
Garrison-size flag constructed of dark blue wool fabric with an inset Palmetto tree and crescent moon (Secession flag of South Carolina) removed from the old Capitol building in Columbia, SC, on February 17, 1865, by 1st Corp. Jacob S. Binkerd (1841-1921), Co. B, 13th Iowa Infantry, assisting Captain W. H. Goodrell of the 15th Iowa. Object No: I 10669. (State Historical Society of Iowa)
Exactly three weeks out from one of the most “high profile” of national events that this Regiment has ever been involved in, finds the Honor Guard Detail of the 49th Iowa that will accompany Governor Terry E. Branstad and Major General Tim Orr to the Vicksburg National Battlefield Park, spending their Saturdays doing close-order rifle and flag drill; honing their skills.
The Governor’s Own Forty-Ninth Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry will constitute the largest single “military presence” from the State of Iowa at the re-dedication ceremonies.
On Saturday, May 4th, the detachment of twelve guardsmen of the 49th Iowa who are on the duty roster for the re-dedication of the Iowa Monument at Vicksburg came together for one final afternoon of practice before the events in Mississippi over the coming Memorial Day weekend. Travelling from all corners of the State of Iowa, these dedicated guardsmen have now participated in three “Drill Days”, dedicated entirely to their precision rifle drill and working together as a Color Guard for the event.
If Practice does, indeed, make perfect….these guardsmen are ready.
Brother Robert Edgar Heath of Calgary, Alberta, Canada and a distinguished Member at Large of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War has been presented with the “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal” in recognition of his long years of service to his nation for his work with the Royal Canadian Legion, Canada’s Military Veterans; and, the 1292 Army Cadet Corps of Canada.
The Medal itself and Certificate of Award from Her Majesty were presented to Brother Heath at ceremonies in Calgary that were held on 22nd February, 2013. The Honorable Jason Kennedy, PC MP gave remarks and congratulations to Brother Heath on behalf of the Honorable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Most members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will know Brother Heath as the much impassioned driving force behind efforts to establish a monument on Canadian soil to the fifty-thousand Canadians who fought for the Union armies during the American Civil War. It is fervently hoped that such a monument will one day be erected near Niagara, Ontario, as a long-overdue thank you to our neighbor to the North for the service and sacrifice of over five-thousand of her native sons to preserve the Union and free an enslaved peoples. Niagara is being looked at as the possible home for such a monument as it was the Northern terminus of the “Underground Railway” that welcomed escaped slaves in the years both before and during the Civil War; and, its proximity to the International border between our two countries would likely ensure that many citizens of the United States might visit the site.
David M. Lamb, PCC
Chairman Canadian Union Veterans Monument Committee
It was a gloriously chilly Spring day in Southern Illinois on Saturday, and “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles” was doubly honored to have been afforded the duties of Provost Guard for the 57th annual observance of the death by assassination of the nation’s beloved 16th President; and to have both the Commanding General of the SVR, Major General Robert Grim; and his Deputy Commanding General, Brigadier General Henry Shaw, present for the swearing in of the newest Junior member of the Grenville Mellon Dodge Camp #75 (Des Moines, IA) ; AND newest Corporal in the ranks of the 49th Iowa Honor Guard, Corporal Asher L. Beermann of La Porte City, Iowa.
Cpl. Beermann (aged 8 years) is the grandson of 1st Corporal Courtney S. Stahr, PDC, and already a very knowledgeable historian of the Civil War, and a self-described , “Lincoln Man through and through”.
Once the young Corporal was properly sworn in and given a copy of his enlistment documents by MG Grim, he was pleased to take his first official post as sentry in the rotating Guard Mount at the catafalque of President Lincoln inside the Tomb, where he stood at somber attention with his very proud grandfather until properly relieved by one of his brothers from the 49th Iowa.
In addition to the Rotating Guard at the Tomb of the President, the Color Guard of the 49th led the parade of units taking the field by providing the National Colors appropriately dressed in mourning ribbons and memorial wreaths; and, carrying in addition to our own proud “Regimental” (also dressed in mourning, as military tradition would dictate to be appropriate for this most solemn occasion), and we carried the personal flag of the Commanding General of the SVR, and azure display banner of the SUVCW and MOLLUS.
Participation at this outstanding event has clearly fallen off over the past few years, but it is hoped that this situation will be rectified in the coming years and that the entire Fourth Military District will once again rally to support this opportunity to serve the memory of our fallen President and our own ancestors as the Sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s death draws nigh.
We know that Corporal Beermann will be back!
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Commanding The Governor’s Own Forty-Ninth Iowa
Iowans Prepare Once Again to Descend Upon Vicksburg
Following Iowa’s major baptism by fire in the campaigns of Shiloh and the subsequent pursuit of Van Dorn’s armies into Mississippi that resulted in the equally heavy fighting around Corinth, it became increasingly clear that the next major tests for both armies would take place in the drainages of the “Father of Rivers”, between the seemingly impregnable heights around Vicksburg, and the far reaches of the Mississippi drainage into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans.
Iowa units from both the now tried and true veterans of the campaigns in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Eastern Mississippi, would be joining newly formed units arriving almost daily by boat, foot and rail from the muster stations back home in Iowa and the training camps being hastily erected all along their route to join Grant’s growing armies that were to take part in what would become the longest Siege of the American Civil War.
The joining together of these units of Hawkeyes, was not always a happy or harmonious affair as the growing columns of troops approached Vicksburg.
One Iowa soldier aboard an over-crowded troop transport would write home that he grew unwell from, the condition of troops on board a transport is miserable in the extreme. Huddled together like pigs in a pen – jostled and jammed from side to side – compelled to eat and sleep on filthy decks – without exercise during the day, and trampled upon at night while endeavoring to sleep – with rations of half cooked meat and tasteless pilot-bread, and constant inhaling the impure atmosphere engendered by the dense crowd on board, and arising from mules and horses on the lower deck.
We can only imagine what the mules and horses thought of their berths.
Little better off were the two huge columns of troops moving relentlessly overland, and forced to forage (a quaintly chivalric military term for stealing whatever one might come by from the lands of your adversaries while en route to your next battle) in a land of increasingly scarce resources that had already endured the passage of Confederate forces pouring into the area for the defense of their coveted Gibraltar of the West.
Long days of foot-sore marching toward an uncertain future, and competition for the scant available food and clean water weighed heavily on the Iowans among these forces. And, frustration born of want, doubtless likely spurred one young lad from the 15th Iowa to complain loudly to his companions of the unclean habits of their brethren in the 16th Iowa who were camped just upstream. They are, he wrote, the nearest to swine of anything we have seen to be called men.
Hard times though, make for hardened men, and it steels their resolve.
The privations these newly minted soldiers endured just to bring them to battle would prepare them to withstand disease, hunger, and devastating casualties before they would finally prevail against seemingly overwhelming odds time and again, and attain an ultimate victory of such magnitude that it would open up the means to end the war.
No serious historian of the American Civil War could ever deny that Vicksburg was a victory that was absolutely essential to the winning of the war; and, none can either understate the importance of the contributions of Iowans to those efforts.
Long after the war ended Iowans would return to Vicksburg to erect monuments to the labors of the state’s sons who fought and died to bring about that victory.
The photos that accompany this piece were taken on November 15th, 1906, when a delegation of some one-hundred and fifty Iowans including the Honorable Governor Albert B. Cummins, General Grenville M. Dodge, Captain John F. Merry, Col. Alonzo Abernethy, and scores of other veterans of the campaign joined commissioners, legislators, judges, public officials and private citizens like Andrew Macumber (late of the 4th Iowa Cavalry) from his family farm outside of Winterset, who came to Vicksburg to attend the unveiling of the major monument that was erected by Iowa’s taxpayers to honor her sons. Thirteen other monuments and fifty-nine bronze tablets were placed across the battlefield to mark the places where Iowa’s sons struggled over those fateful months in 1862 and 1863 to wrest Vicksburg from the hands of the enemy.
It is believed that one photo shows the “Iowa Delegation” in-front-of the flag-draped monument itself; and the other appears to show the covered Dias and speaker’s platform during Governor Cummins’ address to the crowd. (Thanks to the National Park Service for the sharing of these rare photographs of the original ceremonies.)
Now, in this Sesquicentennial year of the fall of Vicksburg, Iowans are preparing to once again visit Vicksburg and participate in ceremonials of re-dedication of the total restoration of Iowa’s monument that will be held on Saturday, May 25th, 2013 at 10:00am in the morning on the grounds of the Vicksburg National Battlefield Military Park. The Honorable Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa will lead the delegation of dignitaries and citizens of Iowa who will travel to Vicksburg over this Memorial Day weekend to take part in the exercises.
Also attending these exercises will be the Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Dr. Donald, D. Palmer, Jr.; and, National Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) Mr.. Jefry Burden. Iowa legislator and author, Senator Dennis Black will attend; as will former Iowa Representative and Speaker Pro-Temp of the House, Dr. Jeff Kaufmann (both gentlemen were responsible for shepherding the funding bill through their respective chambers and onto Governor Branstad’s desk).
It is believed that the Governor of Mississippi, the Honorable Phil Bryant will attend, and other elected officials of both states have been invited as have many veterans and other special interest groups from both Iowa and Mississippi.
The program of exercises is currently being planned by a Select Committee appointed by the Governor for that purpose after the Iowa Legislature appropriated funding in excess of $300,000 to support the restoration during the 2012 legislative session. Commission members and officials from the National Park Service that administers the park, are attempting to follow as closely as possible the original program from the 1906 dedication.
A reception for all Iowans attending the ceremonies is also being planned for the evening of Friday, May 24th, in late afternoon, so that attendees may also attend a major musical performance that is to be held at the park Visitor’s Center at 7:30pm.
All events are free and open to the public and anyone who is interested in Iowa history; or, who may have had ancestors who served from Iowa units during the Vicksburg Campaigns are encouraged to consider attending this once-in-a-lifetime national event.
Please re-visit this website in the coming weeks as we will be posting considerable further information here.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb
Chair, Governor’s Select Committee on the Re-dedication of the Iowa Monument at Vicksburg
On Saturday, 16th February, 2013, members of “The Governor’s Own” joined with the American Legion Quad Cities Honor Guard, and a contingent from the Patriot Guard Riders to commemorate the actions of Private John Vale, 2nd Minnesota Infantry on February 15th, 1963 when the small contingent of some sixteen men met the assault and defeated a Confederate force that was substantially superior in number while engaged in foraging operations near Nolensville, Tennessee. The Confederate force consisted mostly of cavalry and believed to number in excess of one-hundred strong, was intent upon capturing a supply wagon train that Vale and his comrades were defending.
Vale, a native of London, England, would later be promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant and would go on to serve with his regiment until the end of the war.
The Medal of Honor was awarded to Vale and all surviving members of his detail who were engaged on that date in 1897 while living in Davenport, Iowa. He is buried in Oakdale Memorial Garden Cemetery, and is Scott County’s only known Medal of Honor recipient from the American Civil War.
Taking part in the remembrance of Sgt. Vale as part of the detail on this very cold and blustery February day were 2/Lt. Krock, 1/Sgt. Thompson, Regimental Color Sergeant Rowley, and Senior Color Sergeant Grim, and myself.
Remains of Monitor Sailors to be Interred at Arlington National Cemetery
Washington (NNS) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Feb. 12th that remains recovered from the USS Monitor will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
A ceremony will be held March 8 to honor the two unknown Sailors.
The specific date of the interment was chosen to honor Monitor’s role in the Battle of Hampton Roads 151 years ago. “These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington,” said Mabus. “It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy.”
The Brooklyn-built Monitor, the nation’s first ironclad warship, made nautical history after being designed and assembled in 118 days. Commissioned Feb. 25, 1862, the Monitor fought in the first battle between two ironclads when it engaged CSS Virginia in the Battle of Hampton Roads March 9, 1862. The battle marked the first time iron-armored ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the end of the era of wooden ships.
Though Monitor’s confrontation with the Virginia ended in a draw, the Monitor prevented the Virginia from gaining control of Hampton Roads and thus preserved the Federal blockade of the Norfolk-area.
Months later, 16 Sailors were lost when the Monitor sank Dec. 31, 1862, in a storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Her wreck was discovered in 1974 and was designated the nation’s first national marine sanctuary, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Starting in 1998, the Navy, NOAA, and the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA, began working together to recover artifacts from Monitor.
During the Summer of 2002, while attempting to recover the ship’s 150-ton turret, Navy divers discovered human remains inside the turret. The remains were transported to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Hawaii for possible identification.
JPAC, with the assistance of the Navy Casualty Office and NOAA, conducted a comprehensive effort to identify the remains on the unknown Sailors, to include time-demanding and detailed genealogical research. Given the age of the remains, efforts to identify them were unsuccessful. However, JPAC was able to narrow down possible descendents of the unknown Sailors to 30 family members from 10 different families.
(Likenesses rendered by forensic anthropologists)
“The decision to lay these heroes to rest in Arlington, honors not only these two men but all those who died the night Monitor sank and reminds us, that the sacrifices made a hundred and fifty years ago, will never be forgotten by this nation”, said David Alberg, Superintendent of NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
Story Number NNS130212-04 Release Date 2/12/2013 11:33:00 AM By Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) Public Affairs
This story was gleaned from the Department of the Navy's web site for immediate dissemination to all interested parties.