May 30, 2011

119 Memorial Days: Still Seeking Civil War Veteran’s Gravesite



Carolyn’s Online Magazine



     May 30, 2011. Another Memorial Day.  Actually, the 143rd Memorial Day since the commemoration for Civil War veterans began as Decoration Day in 1868.

On May 5.1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic declared in General Order No. 11 that: The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

That May 30th, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.

The commemoration’s purpose began to change when, after World War I, observances began to honor all those who sacrificed their lives in the service of their countrys’ wars.  In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.


     One-hundred forty-three years later, two questions persist:

  • How many grave sites of Civil War veterans are unidentified?
  • How many gravesites are labeled those of unknown Civil War veterans?

Bot these situations exist in the small community of East Lamoine, Maine.


     As I sat listening to the Memorial Day ceremony speakers in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, my thoughts wandered to East Lamoine, Maine, where, I am told, each Memorial Day a flag is placed on the community’s only gravesite of an “unidentified Civil War Veteran,” located in the East Lamoine Cemetery.

Simultaneously, this very small community has a Civil War Veteran whose gravesite cannot be located. My great-great grandfather, Charles F. Walker, native of Exeter, Maine, and resident of Lamoine, Maine, served in Company A, 8th Regiment of Kansas Infantry, Leavenworth, Kansas (under John Blunt, I understand). He enlisted August 28, 1861 and was discharged on July 11, 1864, at Ft. Leavenworth by reason of Surgeons Certificate of Disability.

There is no existing written record of his burial site, although it is logical that he is buried in the East Lamoine Cemetery. He is connected there by virtue of his marriage to Armenia Des Isles, granddaughter of Louis and Mary Googins Des Isles. Armenia’s burial records are also missing, except for a permission slip to have her body shipped from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Lamoine, after her death.

     Could the unidentified Civil War gravesite in East Lamoine Cemetery and the unknown burial site of Charles F. Walker be a match?

To complete the connection the government requires a written record identifying Charles F. Walker’s burial site. It is my hope that someone, somewhere, who is sorting through their papers, will discover a slip of paper containing this information. If such a piece of paper is located, I can be reached through the comment box below this post, or via E-mail: chollandnews @


     Charles F. Walker died on December 7, 1891. He has not been honored in 119 Memorial Day observances. His story, RIGHTING A CIVIL WAR WRONG: A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran, can be read on my writing site: CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS (you are reading on this site—the link is below).


     When I am no longer here to continue the paperwork search that will result in Charles F. Walker’s name officially becoming identified with the East Lamoine Cemetery’s unknown Civil War veteran, who will take up the battle to keep up the search?

Or will the gravesite in the East Lamoine Cemetery forever hold the remains of an unidentified Civil War soldier?



RIGHTING A CIVIL WAR WRONG: A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran

Memorial Day Readings on Military Men

Two Photographers Named Cornell

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