2016Dispatches

 The January meeting will be on January 23rd at 6:00 PM in the Mill Race Center Conference Room#1. We will be installing officers.

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 The June meeting will be on June 27th at 6:00 PM in the Mill Race Center Conference Room#1 which had been the Computer Room. 

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 Here is the article from The (Columbus) Republic, Thursday, March 31, 2016:

CALLING ROLL 

By Harry McCawley - The Republic (harry@therepublic.com)

One hundred seventy-nine names are inscribed on the limestone columns of the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans — those of the service members from Bartholomew County who were killed or died in the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • One was killed in the ongoing war against terror.
  • Twenty-nine perished during the Vietnam War.
  • Sixteen fell victim in Korea.
  • A total of 101 gave their lives in World War II.
  • Another 32 were killed or died in World War I.

 

Chilling and mind-numbing as those numbers are, they pale in comparison to the toll this county paid in the four years of the Civil War.

That battle between the states claimed the lives of at least 243 residents of Bartholomew County. That’s according to a list that was drawn up several years ago by a woman named Helen Coffman, who not only supplied the names of the known war dead but in many cases was able to include the location and circumstances of their deaths.

What is even more frightening is that the 243 might be only a part of the actual death list. Some lists of war casualties place the number of Bartholomew County dead much higher, as many as 280. Put into another perspective, consider that the county’s population in 1860 was 17,865.

There were a number of factors in the toll paid by communities such as Bartholomew County. Many Civil War units were formed in individual cities and towns, creating a situation in which neighbors and even relatives fought side by side. A casualty report from a single battlefield could have a devastating impact on a community.

It did on a number of occasions for families in Bartholomew County. In the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, nine Bartholomew County residents were killed. Another eight died at Stone River, Georgia, while seven fell at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Death tolls weren’t limited to battlefields. Eight Bartholomew County men died while being held as prisoners of war, five in the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

Even when peace came at Appomattox, the county paid. Three residents were among 1,800 soldiers killed aboard the Sultana steamship that exploded and sank in the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee.

Staggering and devastating as these numbers are, there is little in this community in the way of permanent memorials to those who died in the Civil War. There is a simple marker in Newbern Cemetery listing more than a dozen area residents who never returned from Civil War service.

Other than Union Army headstones (and a few Confederate markers) over the graves of Civil War veterans in Bartholomew County cemeteries, there are few acknowledgments of the tremendous sacrifices paid by those who died and their families.

That may be about to change. Efforts are now underway to develop a public monument on the grounds of the Bartholomew County Courthouse to those from the community who served and those who died in the Civil War.

Spearheading the effort are members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War John B. Anderson Camp No. 23. Organizers hope to meet in the coming weeks with the Bartholomew County Commissioners and members of the Memorial for Veterans Commission to discuss their request to place a statue of a Civil War-era soldier somewhere on the courthouse lawn.

The idea for a local memorial originated with member Phil McClure, a longtime student of the Civil War and descendant of ancestors who fought in the Battle Between the States. It is being carried forward by Steve Coffman, a past commander of the local group.

“When you consider what the community has done for all those who have served and sacrificed in these other conflicts, it certainly seems fitting to do something for those who fought a war in which the casualties were far greater than those in all the other wars combined,” he said.

Steve Coffman acknowledges that the local Civil War project will not be as personal as the Memorial for Veterans, which includes not only the names of those from the county who were killed or died in the 20th and 21st centuries but letters written by and to them.

“Because of the sheer magnitude of the casualty list and the fact that this might be an incomplete list, the only identification for this marker will be in the units in which county residents served,” he said.

The marker is a standard model that already has been placed in several Indiana counties and in communities around the country. All expenses would be paid by the local Sons of Union Veterans group, which plans to begin raising funds after securing the approval of the county commissioners and members of the memorial commission. Total cost of the project is estimated at just over $29,000. The group is also hoping to place a similar marker on the grounds of the Jennings County Courthouse.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the casualty lists from the Civil War, the sheer magnitude of the numbers and the fact that this generation is separated from the historic conflict by more than 150 years, the omission of a detailed roll call is understandable.

At the least, however, such a memorial to so many who died in a conflict that forever changed this country has a place alongside those dedicated to the men and women who served and sacrificed in later wars.

Harry McCawley is the former associate editor of The Republic. He can be reached at harry@therepublic.com.

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From Past-Post Commander Steve Coffman: 

"As mentioned in our Camp meeting on Monday evening (March 28), I have been working with Harry McCawley, Phil, and Russell McClure on obtaining and providing information and photos to Harry McCawley in regards to our Civil War Monument proposals.  Harry McCawley’s article is titled, 'CALLING ROLL,' and is published in today’s (March 31) The Republic newspaper, on page A5 promoting our efforts for establishing a Civil War Monument on the courthouse lawn in both Bartholomew and Jennings County.  The article is outstanding, and will provide the general public of the awareness and the fact that the Monuments are long overdue, and should be a real boost in laying the foundation for promoting our project as we move forward in starting the campaign process.

We have a lot of work to do in creating the proposals we will be presenting to the County officials for obtaining approval, and we need to 'strike while the iron is hot' and make this a top-priority for our Camp." 


 

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Meetings will be the 4th Monday of the month at Mill Race Center in Columbus starting at 6:00 PM 

February 22, March 28, April 25,  May 23, etc.

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The January 25th meeting will be at Mill Race Center starting at 6:00 PM.

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