Re-dedication of Headstones at Yorktown National Cemetery: Four Soldiers Unknown No Longer

lelliott19

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Suffolk resident and senior vice commander of the local Sons of Union Veterans camp, Thomas Grund, Jr., spent months working to identify four soldiers who, for decades, had lain under tombstones marked "Unknown". The park service reviewed the claims and agreed that Grund's conclusions were correct.

"Two-thirds of the burials here are unknown," park Superintendent Dan Smith had said before the observance began. "To rededicate these this many years later is amazing and a real tribute to what Memorial Day is all about."
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The new headstones arrived at Yorktown National Cemetery just in time for Memorial Day, 2009:

Pvt. Robert Rumney, Company F, 65th New York Infantry, died April 18, 1862, near Warwick Courthouse, most likely of disease.
Corpl. Emile Lambert, 3rd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery, killed in battle near Lee's Mill April 16, 1862.
Pvt. Harrison Demouth, Company I, 7th New Jersey Infantry, died May 1, 1862, of typhoid fever at hospital, Ship Point, Va.
Sgt. Joshua Richardson, 74th New York Infantry, killed in action May 5, 1862, near Williamsburg.

Read the whole story here:
https://pilotonline.com/news/military/article_c42f3f79-e7e4-5fdb-91a3-d8d147cc0a5f.html
 

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bdtex

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Suffolk resident and senior vice commander of the local Sons of Union Veterans camp, Thomas Grund, Jr., spent months working to identify four soldiers who, for decades, had lain under tombstones marked "Unknown". The park service reviewed the claims and agreed that Grund's conclusions were correct.

"Two-thirds of the burials here are unknown," park Superintendent Dan Smith had said before the observance began. "To rededicate these this many years later is amazing and a real tribute to what Memorial Day is all about."
View attachment 309150
The new headstones arrived at Yorktown National Cemetery just in time for Memorial Day, 2009:

Pvt. Robert Rumney, Company F, 65th New York Infantry, died April 18, 1862, near Warwick Courthouse, most likely of disease.
Corpl. Emile Lambert, 3rd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery, killed in battle near Lee's Mill April 16, 1862.
Pvt. Harrison Demouth, Company I, 7th New Jersey Infantry, died May 1, 1862, of typhoid fever at hospital, Ship Point, Va.
Sgt. Joshua Richardson, 74th New York Infantry, killed in action May 5, 1862, near Williamsburg.

Read the whole story here:
https://pilotonline.com/news/military/article_c42f3f79-e7e4-5fdb-91a3-d8d147cc0a5f.html
Good stuff. Thanks for posting that. What could be more appropriate in CivilWarTalk on a Memorial Day weekend? Well done good and faithful servants.
 

lelliott19

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Should the four soldiers in the above article be "honored?"

All I know is that they should be remembered.

Good job that they have finally been given their identities back.
I'm not sure why this is even a question, but I'll answer that I believe they certainly should be honored. I too am thankful that their identities have been restored. Happy Memorial Day to you UB.
 

unionblue

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Of course they should. Why would you ask that?
@bdtex ,

Because there seems to be a question about honoring some of our collective ancestors. I ask because it is an individual's choice to do such. As a 'former' soldier, I honor them, but that's my choice.

I am of the opinion right was done by these men, by those who worked so hard to find out who they were, so they could be properly remembered.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Mrs. V

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Glad they were identified. Hopefully there are people out there who will now know for sure where their ancestors are buried.

Yes, honored. To serve for a cause, to have believed so fervantly they gave their lives. Then again, I’m kinda old fashioned in that I believe all the dead should be honored and their memory cherished.
 

SJU5

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I would love to know how he scientifically determined what graves of unknowns belonged to these four men? Usually the reason they are listed as “unknown” as they could not be identified. In my research of CW Cemeteries and unknowns, we might have hospital records of men who died and when, but usually dont have burial location records. Unidentifiable soldiers killed and buried on the field and then reinterred are more problematic for matching. We even have some reports of men that were identified at death and shipped back home and when the bodies arrived, they were not the correct body.
I am trying to find a few men of the 13th NJ listed as missing with unknown burial locations and I know many were buried at Chancellorsville so any advice or information would be a great help.
 

lelliott19

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I would love to know how he scientifically determined what graves of unknowns belonged to these four men? Usually the reason they are listed as “unknown” as they could not be identified. In my research of CW Cemeteries and unknowns, we might have hospital records of men who died and when, but usually dont have burial location records. Unidentifiable soldiers killed and buried on the field and then reinterred are more problematic for matching. We even have some reports of men that were identified at death and shipped back home and when the bodies arrived, they were not the correct body.
I am trying to find a few men of the 13th NJ listed as missing with unknown burial locations and I know many were buried at Chancellorsville so any advice or information would be a great help.
My understanding is that the graves had been numbered at some point and those records were located. However, apparently, they had be renumbered which required determination of the original numbering system based off of known graves.
 
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Ian.a8404

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In the grand scheme of things does it matter? Probably not. One thing I know though is that I have been to many a military grave yard in my life and I read every name. Every name conjures up a certain thing. I wish I had a better word but every name conjures up a thing. Was there a sweet heart? Did they die in agony or in peace? The name makes me feel something. Reading unknown makes me feel nothing. Another drop in the bucket in my mind. If identifying them makes one war maker instead decide to seek peace then it was definitely worth it. I do not care what cause they aspired to.
 

dhh712

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I have been to many a military grave yard in my life. Every name conjures up a certain thing. I wish I had a better word but every name conjures up a thing. Was there a sweet heart? Did they die in agony or in peace? The name makes me feel something. Reading unknown makes me feel nothing. Another drop in the bucket in my mind.
I feel the same (or at least similar, hard to describe as you mentioned) whenever I read the names on gravestones, usually those dated at the time around the civil war since those are the only places I visit (for the most part). I want to know more about them, who they were and what happened in their lives. I feel that every life has a story to tell; whenever I can find out about the "not so significant" people (like not the famous popular names we've all heard about and know something of) I'm always delighted to have a "glimpse" into their lives no matter how small a portion.
 

SJU5

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The reason I posted this question is I am trying to locate and properly mark the graves of all the fallen from my home unit, the 13th NJ Vol. Regiment. Although I have located approx 70% that were KIA, we have many still listed as missing and unknown at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Andersonville, Bentonville, Peach Tree Creek and other battles they have fought in. I have traveled throughout the South, searching, researching and photographing each grave stone and compiled them into collages by cemetery and into a database.

I was looking to see exactly how & what information was given to the National Cemetery to convince them that that exact unknown marker was directly tied to a specific soldier. I have written to the author of the article to see if they have any more information, but the email link to the author came back as incorrect.
 

BenKalba

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I hope you are successful. Sounds like a noble undertaking....no pun intended.

In my opinion, you will need DNA to prove some of these cases as many are in community graves.

I have the same issue. My distant cousin, PVT. Lafayette Swiger, 14th West Virginia Inf., is buried in a common grave at Berryville, Va.

It would be fantastic if we could put names o all of the dead.
 


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