Local history group plans Memorial Day activities

By Jon McGinty
Freelance Writer

A local history group, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), plans to honor veterans of that conflict with a series of events during the Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday evening, May 29, an honor guard from Logan Camp No. 26 will march between the Civil War monument on the corner of Auburn and North Main and a burial plot of veterans within Greenwood Cemetery. The route will be

Photo by Jon McGinty

marked with luminaries and will take place from sunset to midnight. More than 500 veterans of the Civil War are buried in Greenwood, including at least three Confederate soldiers.

Members of SUVCW Camp No. 26 will also participate in the Memorial Day parade, starting at 9 a.m., Monday, May 30. Following the parade, Logan Camp members will present a ceremonial and educational program at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 Main St. The program will include a color guard from Auburn High School ROTC, and brief histories of the Grand Army of the Republic; the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and their allied orders; Veterans Memorial Hall; and General John A. Logan, the founder of Memorial Day. The presentations, co-sponsored by Veterans Memorial Hall, will be accompanied by historic photos, and all presenters will be in authentic Civil War uniforms.

Last Friday, May 20, members of the Logan Camp restored a monument at the corner of Harlem Boulevard and Guard Street. The bronze plaque on a granite boulder marks the historic entrance to Camp Fuller, a training camp for Civil War recruits from northern Illinois. The camp occupied an area in Churchill’s Grove from September 1862 until the end of January 1863, and trained four regiments of Union soldiers before they were sent off to join the command of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant.

Earlier this month, members of Logan Camp No. 26 traveled more than 900 miles to Mechanicville, N.Y., to commemorate the death of Elmer Ellsworth, the first Union casualty of the Civil War. Ellsworth served as drillmaster of the Rockford Grays, a military drill team, from 1858-59.

May 24, 1861, after volunteering to serve, the 24-year-old led a platoon of 5th New York infantry soldiers on a mission to remove a Confederate flag from a hotel in Alexandria, Va., since it could be seen from the Lincoln White House. In the process, Ellsworth was shot and killed by the innkeeper, thus becoming the first man to die for the Union cause. Because of his friendship with President Abraham Lincoln, Ellsworth’s body lay in state in the White House before burial in his family plot in Mechanicville, N.Y.

May 15, 2011, several thousand people, including members of more than 100 patriotic and fraternal organizations and cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, gathered in Mechanicville to honor the sesquicentennial of Ellsworth’s death with a program and parade.

From the May 25-31, 2011 issue

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