71st New York Infantry Returns to the Field 27 Years Later

24 04 2020

SOLDIER’S BONES
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A Grave at Bull Run Desecrated by Veterans.
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THEY WANTED SOUVENIRS
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Members of the Seventy-first Regiment Unearth a Skeleton on a Relic Hunting Expedition – It May Have Been a Comrade.
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New York, July 26 – The Evening World Says: Apparently there’s trouble ahead for the Seventy-first regiment. The bones of a soldier have been removed from their resting place in the battle ground at Bull Run by members of this regiment, and what the consequences will be no one knows just now.

The regiment went to Bull Run last Friday night to celebrate the twenty-seventh anniversary of that famous battle. The members reached Fredericksburg on Saturday and Bull Run on Sunday. They were handsomely entertained by their hosts and enjoyed themselves immensely.

They roamed over the battlefield and discussed the positions and engagements of their regiment on that memorable occasion, and compared notes with their Confederate hosts until Sunday night, when they started home, stopping at Washington on the way. They arrived in New York Tuesday morning. The boys searched over the battlefield for souvenirs, and finding a skeleton of a soldier, sever thought a few of its bones would be more desirable as reminders of that occasion than battered bullets and rusty sabers, so they brought them home.

Surgeon E. T. T. Marsh told a reported about it as follows: About eighteen or twenty members of Company B were walking over the battlefield in search of souvenirs. They came to a little gully about six feet deep which had been washed out by water. On the side of this gully was a little mound which attracted the attention of one of the company. It looked like a grave, and when one of the boys stirred up its surface a skeleton was revealed. The men and knives they opened the grave as best they could.

“The soil is clay and pretty hard, so the men soon gave up trying to take the skeleton out whole. They discovered a piece of blue cloth and a button which proved that the dead man was a Union soldier.

“The men told about their discovery when they joined the rest of the regiment and it was talked over freely. Some thought the poor soldier was one of those of our regiment who was never accounted for.

“Private M. C. O’Brien, a physician, was one of the party that unearthed the skeleton, but I do not know any others. I am certain that the whole skeleton was not taken, but I should not wonder if some of the long bones – those of the arm and the thigh – were carried away. I suppose if I had been there I would have taken a bone, too. I did not see any of the bones, but I heard the boys talk about them.”

Sergt. Bonestiel, of Company K, who is at present on duty at the armory, professed to know nothing about the matter.

When he was told about it he laughed and thought it was a grand joke if the boys secured the bones for trophies.

It was rumored that Governor Lee, of Virginia, had communicated with Governor Hill on the subject, but reporters were unable to see either Governor Hill or his secretary at Albany.

Wilkes-Barre (PA) News, 7/27/1888

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Banks





That Big Puddle on Henry Hill

19 11 2014

IMG_20141115_142217_942

This past Saturday I visited Manassas National Battlefield Park for a quick tour with my nephew. I snapped this photo of the typically wet area just east of the Visitor’s Center parking lot, the one you usually have to walk around on your trek to Stonewall on Steroids. Why take a picture of a puddle, especially a dry one? Well, in 1862, some theorize – I tend to concur – this feature was photographed at least three times, twice by the team of Whitney & Woodbury, and once by Barnard and Gibson. At the time, the marshy area was surrounded by shallow and supposedly Confederate graves. Think about that next time you’re busy keeping your feet dry.

Whitney & Woodbury

Whitney & Woodbury

Whitney & Woodbury

Whitney & Woodbury

Barnard & Gibson

Barnard & Gibson





WTF?

26 03 2012

If I needed more proof that these grave related activities (more commonly involving changes to how the graves of Civil War veterans and pseudo-veterans are marked) are more about the honorers than the honorees, I’ve found it in this article. This is just weird and defies rational explanation, in my book: “saving” un-lost, un-threatened gravesites by destroying them? What exactly is the difference between the actions of these folks and those of an apparently disturbed man in Petersburg, who has been sentenced to jail time for digging up buttons, among other things?  I don’t get it. But I think the reporter stumbled across the reason in one sentence [with my commentary]:

To the diggers in these woods, the Hollemans [well, their buttons, cufflinks, and suspender hardware, anyway] belong in Oakwood Cemetery, led there by honor guard, laid alongside men who fell at Gettysburg.

Let me guess: the ceremony will be held on a Saturday (or holiday), when lots of people can come out and watch you guys, right?

Read more at Civil War Memory.