Last Soldier Project

The John W. Foster Camp No. 2 is planning a “Last Soldier” event for the weekend of September 23, 2023. The last Civil War soldier buried in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, was Corporal George W. Winlock of Co. C, 115th U.S.C.T. Infantry. Born in Logan County, Kentucky, around 1847, Cpl. Winlock joined the 115th on October 15, 1864, as a private. He was promoted to corporal on December 1, 1865. He was mustered out at Indianola, Texas, on February 10, 1866. George W. Winlock died on June 10, 1939, and is buried at Locust Hill Cemetery in Evansville, Indiana.

Cemetery Projects

A primary goal of the John W. Foster Camp SUVCW Grave Project is to locate the final resting places of all Union Civil War Veterans in southwestern Indiana. We also work to maintain and improve final resting places of Union veterans. Here is an update of recent and future cemetery work by our camp.

Bellefontaine Cemetery, Mt Vernon, Indiana: The John W. Foster Camp embarked on a large-scale cemetery project that resulted in application for and receiving 103 new military headstones, in addition to another 26 to be reset. In all, there will be 129 replaced and reset headstones within the Soldiers Row at Bellefontaine. Over one quarter of the soldiers buried in Soldiers’ Row at Bellefontaine died at the Mt. Vernon, Indiana, U.S. General Hospital during the Civil War. The remaining number were buried after the war and include a small number of Spanish American war veterans as well as one Indian War and WW I veteran. The research to find unknown named soldiers has been ongoing since February of 2022. Work at the cemetery is nearing completion and is expected to end in early May. The Foster Camp has been working side by side with the Sons of the American Legion Post in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, to complete the

Bellefontaine Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, Indiana: In addition to replacing and resetting headstones in Soldiers’ Row, the Foster Camp received requests to replace three additional headstones within the cemetery but outside of Soldiers’ Row. Assisting in the work was Camp Commander David Hoesli and Past Department Commander Dennis Hutchinson.

Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana: The John W. Foster Camp is currently working construction of two metal cannon carriages to replace the older wooden carriages that have fallen apart. The goal is to have at least one of the two cannons that have sat in Section 24 since 1872 back in the section by this summer. Currently, the University of Southern Indiana completed the CAD digital copies of the original blueprints and are compiling a list of materials and costs on the first cannon. In addition replacing carriages, the Camp will clean and straighten all the headstones in Section 24 as well as paint the mounted siege cannons, mortars, and the fence.

Old Boonville Cemetery, Boonville, Indiana: An old broken headstone has been removed and a new military headstone was installed on December 5, 2022, for Pvt. Francis M. Floyd. The old headstone that was set in concrete was broken up and removed prior to the new headstone installation. Assisting in the project was Department Commander Jim Floyd, Past Department Commander Dennis Hutchinson, and Foster Camp Commander David Hoesli.

Commander’s Citation

On October 29, 2022, the Department of Indiana SUVCW held its Mid-Year Encampment at Mishawaka, Indiana. For the first time, the Department issued a “Commanders Citation” and this inaugural award was bestowed upon John W. Foster Camp #2. The certificate was awarded to the Camp for efforts in gaining access to the Farragut Post records and ensuring these records were digitally copied and properly stored. Along with the certificate, Foster Camp was issued a streamer to attach to our Camp flag. The citation reads: “In recognition of efforts to gain access to the Grand Army of the Republic room in Evansville Memorial Coliseum; and successfully working with the University of Southern Indiana to digitize, preserve, store, and make available the Post’s records to the public. Therefore, as Commander of the Department of Indiana, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, I hereby award this citation for their highest meritorious service.”

Passing of Brother Graham Morey

With a heavy heart, we report the death of Graham D. Morey, 76, of Indianapolis on 1 September 2022. Graham was born in Evansville to Freeman and Caroline (Denby) Morey on 13 September 13 1945.

Graham was an accountant, most recently for H & R Block before his retirement. He was a veteran who proudly and bravely served in the US Army. All his friends called him Grahambo.

Graham was very active in the American Legion and was elected Commander of Post 500 in Speedway. He was the financial secretary for the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council and governor of the Indiana Society of Mayflower Descendants. He was a long-time parishioner of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Speedway, Indiana.

Graham held a great passion for history and genealogy and was a member of several lineage societies such as Sons of the Revolution and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Brother Graham was a beloved member of Ben Harrison Camp No. 356 and served as camp treasurer for several years. He also held membership in the John W. Foster Camp No. 2. Brother Graham was instrumental in introducing new members to the Ben Harrison Camp, including Past Department Commander Tim Beckman, and he will be deeply missed.

Triple Ceremony Event

The John W. Foster Camp #2 hosted a triple ceremony event on Saturday, 25 September 2021. The first event took place at Mariah Hill Cemetery for Private William Schwartz of the 42nd Indiana. The second event honored Private David Jackson Smith of Company G, 136th Indiana Infantry, who was the last Civil War soldier buried in Spencer County, Indiana, and took place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Chrisney, Indiana. The third event took place at Beasley Cemetery and honored Private Benjamin Bunton of Company F, 1st Indiana Cavalry.

We want to thank all who participated and attended the ceremonies. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War camps participating include the John W. Foster Camp #2 (Hosting Camp), Ben Harrison Camp #356, John B. Anderson Camp #223, Calhoun Camp #2 (Kentucky), and the 27th Indiana Sons of Veterans Reserve.

Other groups participating include the Brig. Gen. Eli Huston Murray Chapter of the National Society of Daughters
of the Union 1861-1865, the Evansville Society of the Children of the American Revolution, the Hugh McGary Sr. Chapter of the 1812 Society, the Ohio Valley Sons of the American Revolution, the National Society of the Colonial Dames 17th Century, and the American Legion (Post 242, Santa Claus, Indiana).

Spring Heritage Day

Foster Camp members Dennis Hutchinson and Joshua Claybourn participated in Spring Heritage Day at the Rockport Lincoln Pioneer Village. Dennis showed guests the clothing, equipment, and lifestyle of Civil War soldiers. Joshua Claybourn, stationed under Dennis’s fly, offered a book for sale regarding Abraham Lincoln.

New Buntin Headstone

On 20 June 2020, David Hoesli (John W. Foster Camp #2 Commander), Dennis Hutchinson, PCC (current Dept. of Indiana Commander), and Brian Lankford (John W. Foster Camp #2 Sr. Vice Commander), replaced the broken headstone for Private Benjamin F. Buntin. Benjamin F. Buntin is the 3rd Great Uncle of J. W. Foster Camp brother Thomas J. Carson Jr. Private Buntin mustered into Company F of the 1st Indiana Cavalry. Commander Hoesli helped Thomas Carson with the paperwork to obtain the headstone. Buntin is buried in the Beasley Cemetery in Spencer County, Indiana.

Groups Announce Partnership to Preserve Coliseum Artifacts

As part of an initiative to protect and preserve historic records, documents, and photographs pertaining to the Civil War era and subsequent Civil War veterans’ activities housed in the Vanderburgh County Coliseum, several local groups are partnering together in a collaborative approach. The effort, approved today at a vote of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners, is spearheaded by the:

(1) University of Southern Indiana and its Univ. Archives and Special Collections

(2) Veterans Council of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, Inc.

(3) Vanderburgh County Commissioners

(4) Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (Foster Camp)

The Coliseum is home to a large quantity of historic records, documents, and photographs of the Civil War era, but these artifacts are fragile and environmentally at risk of decay and deterioration.

The University of Southern Indiana (USI)—with its expertise, faculty, staff, resources, and facilities— will perform basic preservation and conservation on the materials to protect and restore them. Once completed, select materials will be scanned for online display.

The Coliseum, operated by the Veterans Council, houses a variety of military artifacts, memorabilia, documents, and photographs, particularly the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and its allied orders. The GAR was a fraternal organization for Civil War veterans.

“Preservation of Civil War and GAR memorials is a big part of our mission,” said Dennis Hutchinson, commander for the local camp of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). “We were eager to prompt this collaboration and we are excited to assist in preserving these important documents for future generations.”

“For many years local historians wanted to inventory and preserve historic items in the Coliseum. Thanks to USI’s expertise and resources, we can ensure these important records will be cared for,” said SUVCW secretary Joshua Claybourn.

About the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW)
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of veteran heroes who fought and worked to save the Union in the American Civil War. Organized in 1881 and chartered by Congress in 1954, SUVCW is the legal heir and successor to the Grand Army of the Republic. The John W. Foster Camp No. 2 of the SUVCW was organized on 11 July 2014.

About the USI University Archives and Special Collections (UASC)
The UASC is committed to acquiring and preserving material about the development and operations of USI and regional history, focusing on the southwestern region of Indiana. The UASC preserves and organizes materials for research and includes 600 regional collections, over 700 audio/video tapes, and 43,000 images and documents online.

About the Veterans Council of Vanderburgh County, Indiana
The Veterans Council, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the area’s veterans, leases the Coliseum from Vanderburgh County. Under the lease, the Veterans Council is responsible for maintaining the Coliseum.

About the Vanderburgh County Commission
The Commission is the executive and legislative branch of county government for Vanderburgh County. The three commissioners are Ben Shoulders, Jeff Hatfield, and Cheryl Musgrave.