Historians to lead tour of Norwalk’s Civil War Soldiers Plot

Visitors will get to learn about Civil War soldiers from Norwalk, including a cavalryman who survived the horrors of Andersonville Prison, a young infantry corporal who was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, two African-American sailors, at a free tour of a local Norwalk cemetery on Saturday, May 28.

Local historians Madeleine and Ed Eckert will lead the tour of Civil War Soldiers Plot at Riverside Cemetery, 81 Riverside Ave. in Norwalk beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. The rain date is May 29.

The Eckerts will identify of a number of post-Civil War residents of Norwalk’s alms-house and the Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and Orphans in Noroton, the nation’s first veteran’s hospital. They will also point out graves of the great-grandson of a notable Norwalk Revolutionary War patriot. There also is a 16-year-old, who was burdened with the stressful responsibility of being a guard at the Rock Island Prison in Illinois plus an English native who was jailed in Bridgeport in 1860 for “offensive cursing” and later served in three infantry regiments during the conflict.

The free tour will conclude with an ice cream social sponsored by Sweet Ashley’s.

During the tour, two Civil War soldier re-enactors from Company A, 11th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, will stand guard at the Buckingham Post No. 12, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Monument. Dedicated in 1889, the monument is a memorial for more than 32 Civil War soldiers who did not have the means for a “proper” burial. Over the years, this unique monument has deteriorated the zinc Civil War soldier atop the granite base was pulled the off its base in 2002. Currently, the pieces of the statue are on display at the Norwalk Historical Society Town House at 2 East Wall Street.

As one of its projects in honor of the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War, the Norwalk Historical Society has mounted a campaign to repair the statue, christened “Chester,” and return it to its rightful place. Through a grant from the Historic Preservation division of the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, monuments conservator Francis Miller of ConservArt, Inc. is preparing a treatment report that will outline the steps needed to restore the monument. Contributions to “Chester’s” restoration can be sent to P.O. Box 1640, Norwalk, CT 06852. Checks should be made payable to Norwalk Historical Society with “Civil War Statue” in the memo section.

For information visit call the Norwalk Historical Society at 203 846-0525.

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