Monday, April 27, 2015

Remembered Among His Comrades At Last


Section 42 is the original Civil War Veteran burial ground – Forest Hill Cemetery, Oneida Street, Utica, NY. German emigrant Corporal Wilhelm "William" Moegling had no gravestone. If a gravestone did sometime exist following his untimely 1869 death, it was probably a wooden grave marker as many there were, destroyed or weathered by the ravages of time or perhaps vandalized at his first burial site in Utica's single municipal internment ground at Potter Street Cemetery, then located at Water and Potter Streets in downtown Utica. Potter Street Cemetery was totally exhumed and removed in late 1916 by City of Utica administrators, as permitted under a May 1916 Act of New York State Legislature. We know from local period newspaper reports that many unclaimed grave-markers were removed and likely destroyed by city-contracted cemetery sexton Mr. Henry Hartman in June 1917.  This unclaimed monument removal followed the mass cemetery exhumations at Potter Street Cemetery completed in late December 1916. A large percentage of the skeletons removed Potter Street Cemetery were re-interred in a presently unmarked mass grave at Forest Hill Cemetery, where over eighty percent of these skeletons then classified as unidentified.  The remains of Corporal Moegling are certainly one of these "unknown" persons.  As a U.S. Army Veteran of two U.S. wars, Corporal William Moegling rates a memorial headstone. And in early 2015 this memorial headstone was furnished by the fine people at the Memorial Programs Office of the U.S. Veterans Administration to honor Corporal Moegling's memory.  Perhaps the bones of as many as 10,000 early Utica residents were reinterred in this aforementioned unmarked mass grave at Forest Hill Cemetery.  This mass grave, otherwise known as Section 58B, is located about 250 yards southeast of the site where Corporal Moegling's Memorial Headstone is now installed -- honored here at last among his Civil War comrades at the Forest Hill Cemetery Section 42.    

The bright white headstone just to the right side of Section 42 Flag Pole is the Memorial Headstone of Corporal William Moegling, late of Company H, 97th Infantry Regiment of New York State Volunteers (a/k/a “The Conkling Rifles” or “The Third Oneida”), an American Civil War Union Fighting Unit directly engaged at many Civil War battles including, but not limited to: The Second Battle of Bull Run, The Battle of Antietam and The Battle of First Fredericksburg.

Corporal William Moegling was here with his regiment:  Click The Battle of Antietam 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

When Did The Civil War End?

In April 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was Commanding General, Army of Northern Virginia and General-In-Chief of the Armies. General Lee was not supreme military officer of The Confederate States of America, a position equivalent today being Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Jefferson Davis was Commander-In-Chief of ALL Confederate military forces, a supreme military command position Davis never relinquished. More simply put, on April 9, 1865, when Rebel General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, that tragic and costly American Civil War was not ended.  The fighting continued.
The Confederacy had other armies with other general officer commanders. And periodic battles and skirmishes continued between Yankees and Rebels. For example, take a quick look at the engagement in Texas at the Battle of Palmito Ranch, May 12-13, 1865, where more than 125 United States citizens became causalities. See reference:  Battle of Palmito Ranch
This date might better express the end of the American Civil War. On June 2, 1865 Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, Commander of Confederate Forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender agreement offered by Federal negotiators. General Smith’s surrender marks disestablishment of the last recognized Confederate army, thus bringing a formal end to the historical most bloody and destructive four+ years in United States history.  Now the enlisted cannon fodder can finally go home.  But even then, some minor skirmishes continue where men and animals became casualties of this divided conflict of unspeakable horror. If the American Civil War was ended April 9, 1865 with General Lee's surrender, then why was it necessary in early June 1865 for another surrender agreement by Confederate General Smith?