Civil War Veteran from Crow Wing Co. Honored at Gravesite Dedication
When looking back on history, it’s important to remember the individuals whose names remain etched in stone. Last month at Brainerd’s Evergreen Cemetery, an opportunity came to dedicate a gravesite to a name once thought forgotten.
“What we had here was an unmarked grave of a Civil War soldier, and the family worked hard over the last couple of years to get a stone issued from the Veterans Administration,” explained Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Sergeant Jim Johnson.
This ceremony serves as a prime example of the work that the Sons of Union Veterans have embarked upon to ensure that veterans of the Civil War are properly honored.
“There were so many of Minnesota’s first veterans that don’t have headstones, or they have broken headstones, they don’t have any family to care for them. For whatever reason, they don’t have headstones,” said Johnson, “So it’s an incredible honor, and to me, it’s become a quest.”
July 11th’s service was meant to honor Private French Barnes, who served as a Union soldier in the Civil War in 1865.
“He joined in the last year of the war in February and his unit, the 148th Illinois, was basically doing garrison duties and guarding against guerrilla attacks along the Chattanooga Railroad down in Tennessee,” explained Johnson.
Of course, Private French Barnes was only one of many Civil War veterans throughout the state of Minnesota, and each soldier has a unique story.
“Every name on the spreadsheet, every headstone in the cemetery is a real person. When I’m doing my research, I finish on one soldier and move onto the next and it’s like, ‘What’s this guy going to come up with?’” added Johnson.
The Sons of Union Veterans are set to perform five other services later this summer.