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).
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.
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.
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.
The Lincoln Pioneer Village and Museum played host to a large group of kids on a tour organized by Owensboro Parks and Recreation early Thursday, 20 June 2019. While one bus experienced a malfunction and could not make it across the river for the visit, nearly 80 youths as well as guides explored the replica cabins representing the environment that raised a young Abe Lincoln. Re-enactors completed the aesthetic, hosting a number of activities representing pioneer life and even the American Civil War. Here SUVCW Foster Camp commander Dennis Hutchinson leads a group of kids through some of the simple infantry maneuvers with mock muskets. He also explained some other aspects of life for soldiers in the war that defined Lincoln’s legacy.
It is with deep regret that we report the death of a dear brother, Keith Byron Batteiger. Keith was our Chaplain in the John W. Foster Camp #2, Department of Indiana. He was born August 23rd, 1953 and passed away August 28th, 2018. His Union ancestors are Pvt. Nathan M. Newell of the 60th Illinois Infantry and Cpl. William Parker of the 2nd West Virginia. Cavalry.
Keith was a kind and friendly brother dedicated to the principles of the SUVCW which are Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty. As a final tribute here are the closing words he gave at the Tobinsport, Indiana, headstone dedication on June 24th, 2018: “May the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Ghost and the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, rest upon and abide with us forever. Amen.”
On November 5th, Dennis Hutchinson (Commander), Keith Batteiger (Chaplin), and David Hoesli (Sr. Vice Commander) installed headstones for four civil war soldiers at the Simon and Lamb cemeteries near Tobinsport, Indiana, in Perry County. Headstones were installed for James Wood, Co. “L”, 1st Indiana Cavalry at the Lamb Cemetery; Thomas Carter, Co. “C”, 12th Kentucky Cavalry; John Henderson, Co. “E”, 44th IN Infantry; and George W. Powers, Co. “C”, 10th KY Infantry at the Simon Cemetery.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil member Chris Cooke, Superintendent of Cemeteries for the City of Evansville, announced on April 28th that the William Halbrooks Arboretum at Oak Hill Cemetery was awarded a Level II Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The designation is a substantial honor for the historic location and reflects substantial work on the part of Mr. Cooke. Level II arboreta have at least 100 species of woody plants, employ paid staff, and have enhanced public education programs and a documented collections policy.
Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville is a historic cemetery developed in 1853 and containing about 175 acres. The cemetery has preserved its original pastoral tranquility. The Victorian period concern for creating an evocative, contemplative atmosphere has been carefully maintained to the present day, making Oak Hill the region’s premier public burial ground and an important cultural statement.
Perhaps the most hallowed ground in the Cemetery contained the remains of soldiers who died in battle or in Evansville hospitals from battle-incurred wounds during the Civil War. There are 574 burials in the Civil War section (Section 24) with the majority dying from disease in the military hospitals. Six buried there died on the battlefield and were brought back to this section, although several from Shiloh and Ft. Donaldson received wounds and eventually died at Evansville. And of the 574 there are a fair number of the burials done after the Civil War by G.A.R. Farragut Post 27.
While most of the Civil War remains are Union men, twenty-four are Confederate soldiers. In about 1903, the Fitzhugh Lee Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument in remembrance of the 24 soldiers who died for the South. Not to be outdone, the Womens Relief Corps (an auxiliary of the G.A.R.) erected an even larger memorial for local Union dead in 1909.
In addition to his duties as Superintendent of Cemeteries, Mr. Christopher Cooke is a board member of the Indiana State Board for Funeral and Cemetery Services and past President of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society.
The Foster Camp of the SUVCW helped organize “Newburgh Remembers,” which featured a reenactment of the Newburgh Raid. The event was designed to bring back to life the sights, sounds, and tastes of Newburgh life during the American Civil War.