Seth Watson Herrick (photo) died at the age of 84 in 1918 with nothing to mark his final resting place. But on Saturday his involvement in the American Civil War was finally recognized. He had served as a major in the 2nd Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry during the war
A Union soldier who has been in an unmarked grave in London for more than 100 years has finally installed a tombstone in his memory.
When he died in 1918 at the age of 84, Seth Watson Herrick was a poor man and was buried in Hendon Cemetery in North London with nothing marking his final resting place.
But his life was far from normal.
Born in Maine in 1834, at the age of 27, he had decided to participate in the Union Army – which fought the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War.
It was made up of the permanent US Army, but also strengthened by temporary units of dedicated volunteers – one of whom was Mr. Herrick.
The civil war – which ran from 1861 to 1865 – remains the bloodiest war in American history. Fighting between 1861 and 1865, it claimed 620,000 lives – almost as many American casualties as any other war that the United States fought together.
Mr. Herrick rose through the ranks during his time in the war, and eventually became a major in the 2nd Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry.
But during the Battle of Cool Spring in July 1864 – where Union troops attempted to chase Confederate General Jubal A. who had withdrawn early into the Shenandoah Valley in western Virginia – Mr. Herrick was wounded in the head.
The Union forces lost the battle and the wound sustained by Herrick left him marked for the rest of his life.
However, a year later, on May 9, 1864, Union troops won the Southern States Army after General Robert E. Lee – his commander – surrendered to the Battle of Appomattox Court House.
After the war, Herrick moved to the United Kingdom to become a British subject.
By 1891, he and his wife Harriet lived in Kensington, West London and sold a product called Koko – supposed to cure dandruff and prevent baldness and grayness.
Ten years later, he lived in Edmonton, in north-east London with a woman named Adam before moving back to Lambeth, South London, where he died of cancer in 1918.
He was buried in an unmarked grave for over 100 years and it was only when British historian Michael Hammerson discovered that his life story became clear, as reported by The times.
On Saturday, his involvement in the American Civil War was finally recognized when his tombstone was installed to commemorate his memory – paid for by the Veterans' Affairs Administration in Washington, D.C.
The soldier was previously in an unmarked grave at the cemetery in Hendon (photo), but the US government paid for a tombstone
Herrick's grave in North London was found by local British historian Michael Hammerson – who believes that around 1,100 Union and 120 Southern veterans are buried on mainland UK.
Only about 25 percent of those were found, he claims.
He found Mr. Herrick's grave after receiving his retirement file, which had a claim for the funeral that said where the funeral was, Mr. Hammerson explained to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
& # 39; In most cases it's nowhere easier, & # 39; he went on.
Mr Herrick's family can now pay their respects – including his great-grandson Bob Herrick, 76, who played during a ceremony on Saturday when the Last Post was played on a bugle from the Civil War.
He said: & # 39; It was a great honor to have my great-grandfather remember this way by this group of people. & # 39;
Also at the ceremony were Lieutenant Colonel Jesse F. Moore, Assistant Army Attaché at the US Embassy in London and Mayor of London's Barnet district, Reuben Thompstone.
Hammerson, also present, said: & # 39; In general, (the community) seems to be interested in finding out that they have a civil war veteran, and that can be a focus for historical and educational activities. & # 39;
Pictured: Hendon Cemetery, where Major Herrick was honored with a new headstone on Saturday after the body was in an unmarked grave for 101 years
The amateur historian has found dozens of graves belonging to Union and Confederate veterans.
In 2015, Hammerson found the grave in north London of an American Medal of Honor recipient, Maurice Wagg. Herrick's grave was the 250th Hammerson found.
It wasn't just ex-troops who came over Britain. Tens of thousands of Britons traveled by sea to participate – some lost their lives in horrible circumstances, others witnessing levels of massacre and torture they could never have imagined.
The liberal government of Lord Palmerston has announced that Britain would remain neutral.
As a result, thousands of Britons have joined the government's ban on neutrality to volunteer for the federal or confederate army – anti-slavery protesters and mercenaries, in general.
When the Union troops won, Britons who fought for them were entitled to a pension. But, said Hammerson, those who were fighting for the Southern in the South were not.
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: THE DEADLIEST ARMED CONFLICT IN US HISTORY.
No other war involving the United States has claimed more American lives than the civil war (1861 – 1865). More than 620,000 people were killed.
At that time, the death toll accounted for approximately two percent of the entire American population. For comparison: that would be the equivalent of 6 million dead soldiers today
The death toll during the civil war is higher than the number of deaths in the First (116,516) and Second World War (405,339) combined. So many men died in captivity during the civil war and were killed throughout the Vietnam war
A recent study by a historian estimated the death toll at 850,000 because it includes civilian casualties and does not strictly cover the period of active fighting between 1861 and 1865
The silent killer during the war was illness. It killed hundreds of thousands – more than double the number of men who died on the battlefield or on their wounds. In general, about one in four men did not live to see the end of the war
The deadliest battle of the war was the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennylvania. In 1863. About 52,000 people died, were wounded or disappeared after that fight alone
2000 boys of 14 fought for the Union; 300 who were 13 years or younger; and 200,000 boys who were no more than 16 years old
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