By November 21, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Black Civil War Veterans Belatedly Buried in National Cemetery

Remains of Black Civil War Veterans reburied at National Cemetery.

Remains of Black Civil War Veterans reburied at National Cemetery.

After more than 100 years, the remains of three African-American veterans of the Civil War were removed from their burial place on a private plot of land in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and given a proper burial about 50 miles away at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. The veterans were given a military funeral with full honor guard detail, which included a 21-gun salute and a bugler playing taps.

According to the 1935 Report for Veterans’ Grave Registration Record from Cumberland County, the three veterans are: Corporal William Anderson, who was a member of the renowned 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the all-black regiment that was featured in the movie “Glory;” Private Greenburg Stanton, who served in the Massachusetts Calvary; and John Nelson, whose rank and regiment are unknown.

The three were buried in a cemetery that was later moved, but their remains were left behind, and the graves were overgrown with trees, shrubs, and brush. Lowell Hassinger used to live on the property and took care of the graves until he moved away. When he moved back, the headstones were gone. He contacted local officials, who researched local records, then contacted local Boy Scout Troop 185 to assist in a 300 hour project to clear the site. The remains were located, exhumed, placed in new caskets, and moved to the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

The men were the first Civil War veterans buried there. In attendance were over 100 military veterans, current soldiers, Civil War enactors, members of the public, and one distant descendant.

Beverly Stanton is the great-granddaughter, five generations removed, of Greenbury Stanton. She says most of her family now lives in Texas. At the conclusion of the program, she broke down in tears when she was presented with a folded American flag. “I really don’t have enough words to say what it does for my heart,” she said.

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