Article about Green-wood Cemetery

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Article about Green-wood Cemetery - Brooklyn Cemetery resting-place for veterans By...
Brooklyn Cemetery resting-place for veterans By LARRY McSHANE Associated Press Writer NEW YORK — Beneath twin marble gravestones in the Green-Wood Cemetery lie the Prentiss brothers, buried along with their 135-year-old tale of sibling love and hate. The Baltimore natives fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, each convinced their cause was just. Their house divided was only healed during a battlefield reunion after both were badly wounded in the 1865 siege of Petersburg, Va. ..Each died within months, one in a Washington hospital, the other at a third brother's Brooklyn home. Dr. John Prentiss, a surgeon for the Union, interred his brothers side by side. Sitting in an office at Green-Wood, Jeffrey Richman recounts the saga of Clifton and William Prentiss. Their tale is one of dozens rediscovered since Richman mounted a search this year for the estimated 6,000 Civil War veterans buried inside the landmark cemetery. "We have some amazing stories that we're coming across," says Richman, the cemetery's official historian. "It's a lot of detective work, trying different approaches to try to find as many of these veterans as possible." Like any detective, Richman stays busy chasing leads — some gleaned from ancient index cards and grave registries, others sent in by Civil War buffs or veterans' relatives. He's pored over history books, like 1879's "Camp and Field Life of the Fifth New York Volunteer Histo- ry." He's searched ancient newspaper archives. He's even perused 140-year-old box scores of baseball games played by soldiers on the cemetery grounds. Richman doesn't work alone. In May, 60 volunteers walked through the 478-acre cemetery in search of potential veterans' graves. A similar effort was undertaken in September, with 80 people turning out — including retired educator Susan Rudin. "My husband and I are interested in the history of ordinary people during extraordinary times," said Rudin, who is helping assemble biographies of the soldiers. "It makes history more alive." Her favorite Green-Wood Civil War veteran was Albert Johnson, a Confederate colonel from Louisville, Ky. Johnson moved to a Brooklyn mansion after the war, helping develop the borough's mass transit system. Johnson is one of several hundred positively identified Civil War veterans. Another is Louis Napoleon Stodder, Boston-born but buried in Brooklyn. The Union soldier was at the wheel of the ironclad Monitor during its historic clash with the Merrimac; he suffered an injury when a Confederate shell struck its turret. Among Stodder"s neighbors is Alois Brau, who enlisted in the Union army at age 15, survived the war between the states, then returned home to don a tuxedo and run a dance studio. It's no surprise that Green-Wood, home to nearly 600,000 permanent "residents," would serve as such a historical repository. The cemetery is as much a New York institution as the Brooklyn Bridge or Central Park — and it predates both by decades. Founded in 1838, it's population grows at the rate of nine funerals per day. Among its more famous residents: "Wizard of Oz" star Frank Morgan, composer Leonard Bernstein, and newspaperman Horace Greeley. There's the infamous, too: mobsters Albert Anastasia and "Crazy Joey" Gallo, and corrupt politician "Boss" Tweed. The new project has several goals: locating ail the vets, getting them proper gravestones, and publishing a book about die Civil War through the lives of those buried in Green-Wood. "I can teil the story of Gettysburg with 10 different people on the field diat day," says Richman. "All New York guys, and all here at the cemetery." That group includes Sgt. Nathaniel Carlton, killed during the fighting at Gettysburg's "railroad cut," and Gen. Henry Slocum, who survived the three days of bloody fighting to become one of Brooklyn's leading citizens. The cemetery plans to pick up the cost of the new headstones as part of the project. Any money generated by the book would be donated back to the cemetery to cover costs. Some stories are stranger than others. Col. j. Lafayette Riker, a balding, bearded officer, found himself facing court-martial for allegedly shacking up in his tent with a woman posing as an Army private. He was acquitted of the charges, but there was no happy ending: He died at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Va., on May 31, 1862. (On the 'Net: A newly cast sculpture of a Civil War soldier stands at a memorial overlooking the Manhattan skyline at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y. (AP photo)

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  1. Indiana Gazette,
  2. 12 Feb 1991, Tue,
  3. Page 23

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  • Article about Green-wood Cemetery

    pjonesrn – 21 May 2013

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