Last week I received the following email from long-time visitor Charlene Henderson:
“For the past few months, I’ve been working with Bob Rosati in updating the (Find-A-Grave) memorials (webmaster note: this is the source of the 17th CVI Burial Sites section). While Bob created many memorials, or now maintains them, not all of the 947 memorials fall into these two categories.
As you know, one of the last three members of the 17th Association was Charles A. Jennings. Who died January 15, 1933, nearly at the age of 91, and is buried in Branchville Cemetery, Ridgefield.
Years ago, I found a gravesite with a private gravestone and a Civil War military stone for Charles E. Jennings with the military record for Charles A. Jennings. Charles E. died March 27, 1865 at the age of 17 years. He’s buried a few miles north of Charles A. in New Florida Cemetery.
The quest: To place a military footstone with the corrected record at the base of the incorrect large upright Civil War stone. However, the Department of Veteran Affairs will not issue a military stone because the gravesite has a privately purchased headstone. Therefore, they consider it marked.
Not willing to give up, I started a GoFundMe page “Civil War Sailor’s Gravestone – Corrective Action” to purchase a military footstone.”
Well, this seemed like a worthy thing to put out to those who visit the site. Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page:
And here’s what you need to know:
Needed: $ 25.00 from 52 people or $20.00 from 65 people or $10.00 from 130 people, any amount will help.
Along Rt. 7, just north of Branchville, Connecticut, thousands of commuters pass an old cemetery, unaware of the story that lies within the stonewalls enclosing the old burial ground known as New Florida Cemetery.
Two headstones, roughly three and a half feet in height, standing one in front of the other, within inches. In the rear, slightly taller, a private headstone. Inscribed in small letters, near the base, “In sacrifice to his country” words chosen by or suggested to a windowed mother. In front, a military headstone for a Civil War Soldier. Charles E. Jennings had just turned seventeen, four days, before. The date, March 27, 1865. Oh, so very close to the end of the Civil War.
For years, the private headstone stood alone, when and a well-meaning person or group wanted to place the military stone at the gravesite which reads: SGT. CHARLES E. JENNINGS Co. G 17TH C.V.I. DIED MAR. 27, 1865 AE. 17.
All would be well and good except the stone is a mismatch of two different people. Charles Edgar Jennings did die on March 27, 1865, on board the U.S.S. Massachusetts, in Philadelphia Navel Yard, four days after his 17th birthday. He was a Landsman in the U.S. Navy.
Charles Augustus Jennings, Sergeant Co. G, 17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, died January 15, 1933, at the age of 90 years, 10 months, 15 days. He’s buried in Branchville Cemetery, a few miles south of New Florida Cemetery, both cemeteries are in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Each person has memorials on Find A Grave, Jack Saunders, a retired newspaper editor and Ridgefield historian, maintains the memorial for Charles E. Jennings. Together, we sought to have a flat corrected military footstone placed at the base of the upright military stone.
Jack contacted Donna Barber, the sexton of St. Mary’s Cemetery. She graciously offered the services of St. Mary’s grounds crew for all necessary work needed at the gravesite. With all aspects coordinated, the last part of the project, apply to the Department of Veteran Affairs for a footstone.
The application was denied because a privately purchased stone marks the gravesite. The Department of Veteran Affairs, by law, can only issue a “second marker” if the veteran died on or after November 1, 1990. If the gravesite were unmarked, a military stone would have been issued, anywhere in the world, at no cost.
The purpose of this Go Fund Me campaign is to place a military regulation styled footstone, at the base of the incorrect military headstone. Charles E. Jennings gave his life for his country. Shouldn’t a military stone give the correct details of service?
For Charles E. Jennings on Find A Grave:
For Charles A. Jennings on Find A Grave: