2017-08-26 / News

Island Civil War Veterans Memorial Lists 29 from Island

By Sasha Zidar


Members of the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, in full uniform, stand ready before marching to the Civil War Veterans Memorial monument. Members of the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, in full uniform, stand ready before marching to the Civil War Veterans Memorial monument. Twenty-nine Union Civil War soldiers who served from Mackinac Island, as well as others still to be documented, were honored Saturday, August 19, with a solemn and special ceremony, led by costumed interpreters, at a monument dedicated in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.

Their names are chiseled in the new Civil War Veterans Memorial debuted during the rites, which were led by visiting members of the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The City of Mackinac Island’s Veterans Committee planned and arranged the ceremony, featuring a presentation of colors by interpreters from Mackinac State Historic Parks and addresses by Mayor Margaret Doud, Mackinac State Historic Parks Director Phil Porter, and veterans advocate Paul Wandrie.


The leader of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War group plays the fife as the group prepares for its entrance during August 19 rites honoring Island soldiers who served in the war between the states. The leader of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War group plays the fife as the group prepares for its entrance during August 19 rites honoring Island soldiers who served in the war between the states. Mr. Wandrie, former chairman of the Veterans Committee, dug through historical records and did the research necessary to create the memorial, then sought and received the funds to build it.

“For many years I’ve been interested in the Civil War, initially in the 1980s while I was stationed in Pennsylvania,” said Mr. Wandrie during his speech at the ceremony. “I visited the Gettysburg battlefield, and when you learn how these forces advanced towards defensive fence works, you can see how it became a killing field.”

More than 10 years ago, Mr. Wandrie became interested in researching the lost Civil War soldiers of Mackinac Island, and so began his quest to retrieve military records so these soldiers would not be forgotten and would have a proper monument. The search began on ancestory.com, where he looked for every document that he could find that would pinpoint the soldier’s service records as well as their ties to Mackinac Island.


An interpreter for the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War kneels to talk with a young girl who is fascinated with her costume. The girl and her father, watching their conversation, stopped by during the dedication of a monument to Island Civil War veterans. An interpreter for the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War kneels to talk with a young girl who is fascinated with her costume. The girl and her father, watching their conversation, stopped by during the dedication of a monument to Island Civil War veterans. One record that he used extensively was the 1860 Federal United States Census. This record not only pointed out men laid to rest in Mackinac Island cemeteries, but it also showed those who may have served.

As more doors to the knowledge opened, Mr. Wandrie spoke with the Veterans Committee about doing additional research of military records through the National Archives. Mayor Doud suggested Mr. Wandrie contact the Mackinac Island Community Foundation to see about a grant.


Connie Horning (left) and Austin Blair wear traditional Civil War attire during the Veterans Memorial ceremony. Both women are interpreters for the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Connie Horning (left) and Austin Blair wear traditional Civil War attire during the Veterans Memorial ceremony. Both women are interpreters for the Michigan chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The foundation approved every grant Mr. Wandrie requested and he was able to find each military record he needed. Upon completion of the research project, he recommended that a new monument me erected for the Civil War veterans.

“The names shown are the ones researched today, and there are others that are being looked into,” he said. “The design of the monument will always allow us to add names, so you might say this is work in progress.”

An estimated 600,000 soldiers were killed on both sides during the war, and death from disease accounted for another 400,000. Most never were accounted for, their final resting places never marked with a headstone. Thousands of amputations also were performed, because that usually was the only life-saving option for wounds and severe injuries incurred during battle.

The city’s Civil War veterans memorial features the crossed rifles of the infantry, the crossed sabers of the cavalry, and the stacked cannon balls of the artillery batteries. Island men had served in each of these units.

“Mackinac has never let me down when I asked for donations,” Mr. Wandrie said.

After the war, regular troops returned home. Many of the soldiers memorialized at the ceremony and on the monument came back to Fort Mackinac after the war.

To remember the war, veterans formed a local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic named after Captain Henry Pratt, the last commander of Fort Mackinac. It remained active for many years.

Mr. Wandrie says 125 civilians from Mackinac Island enlisted for the Civil War and deserve to be recognized for their bravery.

“Today we remember the Civil War in the books that we write and the buildings that we preserve and the exhibits that we have,” said Mr. Porter in his address. “It is important to remember that conflict and remember the people from Mackinac that played such an important role. Thank you all that were involved in creating this monument so we can remember those who served this country.”

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