“From the roar of the Cannon to the Silent Medication of Peace.” This was the theme for the celebration and re-dedication of the Man on the Monument, held Sunday afternoon, Dec. 5, 2021, in the town Square. The original dedication was Dec. 7, 1871, and a concerted effort was made to follow the details of the original ceremony 150 years ago.
John Bry welcomed those who were in attendance, and Derrick Fetz gave the invocation. County officials present for the event were introduced including mayors and other members of city and county governments.
The Honorable William Bean, Mayor of Urbana, gave a history of the monument, which included brief narratives about several army volunteers from Champaign County.
Sgt. Marion Ross, from Christiansburg, was one of the first to answer President Lincoln’s call. He, along with 21 other volunteers were sent to hijack a Confederate train. The mission failed because the area was heavily occupied by Confederate forces. He was captured and executed as a spy. Ross was given the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Major Thomas McConnell was from Urbana and served as a captain at the Battle of Gettysburg and rose to the rank of Major.
Pvt. John H. Hunter was from Harrison Township near Springhills. He was taken prisoner during the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, and later was part of a prisoner exchange. He continued to serve at the Battle of Vicksburg and Brice’s Crossroad.
Pvt. Joseph Colman was from Salem Township. At the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, near Tupelo, Mississippi, He was captured. While being sent to the infamous prison camp at Andersonville, he was killed by a rebel guard over his pocket watch.
Pvt. Daniel Leonard was also from Salem Township. After the Vicksburg Campaign, he became very ill. His father, William Leonard wrote to Daniel’s friend Joseph Maitland requesting that Joseph do all he could to obtain a furlough for his son so that he could come home. Daniel died before Joseph received the letter.
Sgt. Joseph Maitland, another brave soldier from Salem Township, was a teacher in Kings Creek before enlisting. He ended his service as a scribe with the Court Martial Court. He returned to Kings Creek to live a full life.
The Emancipation Proclamation enabled Massachusetts to recruit free African American men to serve. Massachusetts recruited up and down what is now Route 68 from Xenia through Springfield, Urbana, and Bellefontaine.
Pvt. Jeremiah Thompson, one of the first African Americans to enlist, was a lamplighter for the city of Urbana. He enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Co C and fought bravely in several battles, including the Assault on Ft. Wagner where he was wounded. Jeremiah returned to Urbana and led a full life.
Pvt. Isaiah Winfield Buckney was born in Belmont County, but by 1860, he lived in Champaign County. With a strong desire to help his fellow countrymen, he enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Co. E. He was wounded at James Island, South Carolina, and was given a furlough. Later, he was discharged and returned to Urbana,
Before Mayor Bean moved on to the next brave African American soldiers, he said “I want to mention the Barrett family that lived in Urbana Township. This family sent four brothers to serve President Lincoln’s cause.”
Isaac Barrett, nineteen, joined the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, Co. K and was wounded in the assault on Ft. Wagner.
David Barrett, twenty, enlisted the 55th, Massachusetts Infantry, Co. K. He was wounded at the Battle of Honey Hill and was mustered out of service in 1865.
George Barrett, 26, served with the 55th Massachusetts infantry, Co. K. He was also wounded at the Battle of Honey Hill and died of his wounds.
John Barrett, twenty-nine, served with the 27th U. S. Colored Troops. They were engaged at the Battle of the Crater in front of Petersburg, Virginia, July 30, 1864, and John was reported missing. A pension record for his wife Ann shows that John died on July 30, 1864.
Mayor Bean ended his speech with “This Man on the Monument or Soldier in Meditation, represents 3235 Champaign County fathers, sons and brothers who served in order to preserve this Union and bring freedom to an enslaved people. Of those 3235 soldiers that went off to war, 587 gave their last full measure of devotion so that we all could be free.”
Douglas Ebert, Esq., an attorney from Marion, Ohio, stood before the audience as Ulysses S. Grant and talked about the changes from the beginning of the war in 1861 to 1865, when the war ended, and he, Grant, was the General of the Union Forces. One particular change was in weapons and firepower. Weapons became much more powerful as the war progressed. The power and range changed drastically in four years.
In honor of those from Champaign County who fought and died, there were three displays of remembrance for those brave men. Mr and Mrs. Shawn Logwood, parents of Spc. Cameron Logwood, army veteran, laid a wreath at the foot of the monument. That was followed by the Color Guard from VFW Post 5450/DAV Chapter 31, composed of Fred Williams, Carl Angles, Bill Cromwell, Gene Baker, and Craig Bennett. In honor of the seven Medal of Honor winners associated with the county, and the five African American soldiers serving in the U.S. Colored Troops and MA. 54th & 55th, there was a 12 gun salute by the Ohio 66th Volunteer Infantry Re-enactors.
Downtown churches recognized the 12 townships by ringing their bells 12 times; that was followed by the benediction by Rev. Derrick Fetz. After the benediction, Rev. Fetz asked that Kim Gordon-Brooks lead the audience in the chorus of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” To cap the ceremony, a town picture, the first that we are aware of, was taken, and all who attended gathered in front of the monument.
Clarification from Jan Ebert: “In 1864 there was a First Presbyterian Church building. However, the one made reference to (in which the said window was installed) is the current building dedicated in 1894.”
Hayla Parker represents the Man on the Monument committee for the 150th celebration.