Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scotland in the American Civil War

Two months ago I reported on a group in Scotland that was busy planning a ceremony to honor its countrymen who fought in the American Civil War. I am happy to pass along an update.

The ceremony will indeed take place on July 21, 2007 at the Lincoln Memorial, located in Old Calton Cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I have been in contact with Rev. Dr. Bill Mackie (pictured above), who has been kind enough to pass along some additional information regarding Scotland’s contribution to the American Civil War.

Shortly after the war ended, the American Consulate General in Scotland arranged for the monument in Old Calton Cemetery in Edinburgh. The names of the Scotsmen who served in the war are engraved onto the monument and five of the veterans are buried close by:

Lt Col. William Duff
2nd. Illinois Regiment of Artillery

Robert Steadman
5th Maine Volunteer Infantry

James Wilkie
1st. Michigan Cavalry

Robert Ferguson
57th New York Infantry

Sgt Maj. John MacEwan
66th New York Volunteers

After extensive research, another soldier was identified and added to the monument in 1993:

Alexander Smith
66th New York Volunteers

Another soldier, James B. Harden, who served in the 91st New York Infantry, moved to Edinburgh after the war and is buried in an unmarked grave in Piershill Cemetery. Mackie's group hopes to honor him with a stone next March 2nd.

Mackie’s group has identified yet another veteran of the American Civil War, but this soldier did not serve in the Union ranks. Col. Robert A. Smith was a Confederate soldier who served with a Mississippi regiment. He died on September 21, 1862 from wounds sustained a week earlier during the charge on Fort Craig in Kentucky. Though Col. Smith is buried in Jackson, Mississippi, he was born in Edinburgh. After his death, his family ereceted a monument in his honor in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh (pictured above).

In addition to the ceremony on July 21st, Mackie’s group has organized another ceremony to honor Col. Smith. The service will take place on September 15 at 11 a.m. at Dean Cemetery.

The Civil War remains America’s greatest tragedy. 620,000 soldiers lost their lives. I know how easy it can be to get lost in the numbers, but Mackie’s group offers a powerful reminder to never forget the individual soldier. Each one had a unique story to share. Each one left behind someone who loved them.

Though I can't be in Scotland next week for the ceremony, my thoughts will certainly be with my friends across the Atlantic.

1 comment:

Phil LeDuc said...

Heck, when I first saw the picture on this site, I thought it looked more like pre-bearded John Brown.