Sunday, June 08, 2008

Gravestone Dedication

Yesterday was Confederate Memorial Day and we went to the service to dedicate a stone that our Unit had donated funds to have restored. The Union veterans of the War between the States have their stones maintained by the US Government to this day, but the Confederates that are buried at Loudon Park Cemetary have stones that for the most part have weathered smooth and are now unreadable. This is the second year that we've adopted a soldier (these men for the most part lived after the war and died at the Confederate Soldier's Home right down the road from us in Garrison/Pikesville) and were not able to be buried with their families for one or another reason. We're standing right next to General Bradley Johnson's monument and grave, and his chief of staff flag is in the background.
I hadn't been able to attend last year, so visiting this historic cemetary was a first for me. I was amazed at the statuary and the history contained within these walls, there were graves here from about 1850, including many familiar names from Baltimore history. HL Menken is buried in this land, as well as the representatives from many of the streets that were named after notable families of the area. Mark took pictures of me while I was out exploring the grounds, it looked eerie to me, nearly like a ghost from 145 years ago was visiting a loved one's grave.
The family of this solider, Frank Bond, wrote to the Military head of our unit and asked that we take pictures of the grave to send to him. Apparently he served with the Maryland 1st Cavalry which is the unit that we represent. We got several pictures, unfortunately the color on Mark's camera malfunctioned for some of the pictures and showed only the greens.
I had been saddened by how many of the stones were tumbled over and was also curious about why some of the many masoleums that are dug into the sides of the hills here were cemented or bricked shut. Since the director, manager, and other personnel from the cemetary were in attendance at the memorial service and gravestone dedication, I happened upon one of the gentlemen and asked these questions. The director said that it is not legal to pick up or otherwise "fix" anything without permission of the family that owns the stone, and in many cases, there is no longer family that is reachable for permission. The vaults that have been filled and there is no longer any family have sometimes been requested to be sealed by prior arrangement with the cemetary.
This is the Colorguard that paraded in and stood with their flags for the ceremony. The temperature was about 95 yesterday during the ceremony with the heat index bringing it to 105-110F. The uniforms are all wool, there was no such thing as a summer and a winter uniform. One uniform was all the soldiers were issued. Two of the color guard got overheated and had to go sit out the rest of the ceremony and Mark, and Mr. Garcia who is the head of the cemetary took the flags.
This picture is another of Frank Bond's Stone from my camera so it shows the colors of the uniforms. These are some of our Unit's members in attendance around the stone. You can see the tents for the ceremony and the gravestones in the background. There are quite a few soldier's graves down the hill from Confederate Hill but these have been buried by their families as opposed to the 605 that were in the mass area.
The statuary in this cemetary was incredibly artistic, and while it's sad that these families lost their loved ones, the beauty of these statues and monuments has lived on for so long and will continue to do so. This place is called a Park, and truly it is a peaceful and beautiful place to visit.
This is another shot of some of the statues that are continued on the larger family plots here. The large one shown here (of course, I can't remember the family name on it) has sheaths of wheat on the sides as well as angels and information about the people interred in the plot.
Some of the stones have been here so long that there are vines growing over them, it was like a walk back in time and history. I would like to come visit again when the weather is a bit cooler perhaps, and with a pencil and paper to write down all the familiar family names to try to figure out if I know them from Baltimore history or from Civil War in Maryland history, or what.


Anonymous said...

Your blog is great! Here is the url
of the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you care to take a look:

Tama said...

If any of my family is there you certainly have my permission to fix their head stones!! My family names would be King, Rice, Powell, Warden, Bolling, Duston, Snow, and Cambell. There are others, but those are the ones that came to mind imediately. If any of these names are there somewhere will you take a picture of the headstone and let me know? And please, if any are fallen over or anything you have my permission to fix them. I can provide family documentation if you need it. THANKS!

PS: The pictures of you walking around the cemetary in your lovely outfit are very eerie!

Historical Ken said...

As a Union civilian reenactor (21st Michigan and the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society) I commend what you are doing for our Confederate brethren.
God Bless - - - - -