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Camp Hughes Plaque Dedicated at
Gosport Cemetery, Gosport, IN

On May 26, 2008 the Ben Harrison Camp # 356 along with the 27th Indiana, Co D SVR, the 11th Indiana Reenactment Group, and the John Brighton Post 7850 VFW dedicated a new plaque recording the final resting place of eight 59th Indiana soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes which was located at Gosport Indiana. The ceremony of dedication was performed with approximately 75 guests in attendance. This ceremony was the culmination of over 2 years of research by the Ben Harrison Camp to mark the eight previously “unknown” graves. Camp Hughes was a Civil War training camp for the 59th Indiana and was located one-half mile southwest of Gosport on the White River and named for former Indiana Congressman James Hughes. Camp Hughes was in existence from September 1861 to February 13, 1862 when the 59th left Camp Hughes bound for New Albany, Indiana and active duty. Camp Hughes was the only known Civil War camp ever established in Owen County. 

Research indicated that 12 men died while at Camp Hughes and that at least 8 men where buried in graves marked “unknown” at the Gosport Cemetery. The 59th Indiana soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes apparently contracted measles and died between late January and February 1862. It is unclear today why these men where buried in graves marked “UNKNOWN 59th IND INF” since the microfilmed 59th Indiana Correspondence File at the Indiana State Archives revealed that the regiment certainly knew who these men were as it listed 8 names that were reported to have been “buried by their regiment in the Gosport Cemetery.” The Ben Harrison Camp made arrangements for a plaque to be struck with the names of all 12 men who died while at Camp Hughes. The plaque was affixed onto a large granite marker already in place over the 8 “unknown” graves on May 10, 2008. This block of rough gray granite was placed over the graves in October 1923. According to an article in the Gosport Reporter of October 25, 1923, L. R. Gray placed the large granite stone there with the intention of having the marker either lettered or a bronze tablet attached. The granite stone was lettered with the following: IN MEMORIAM Died in Camp Hughes –1861-2. It is unclear whether they ever intended to list on this marker the individual names of the 59th soldiers who died while in camp.

Click Here to See the Program of the Dedication Ceremony (with a list of all known Civil War veteran burials in the Gosport Cemetery)

Click Here to See a List of Known 59th Indiana Soldiers Who Died While at Camp Hughes


Memorial Before Cleaning and Installation of Plaque


Memorial After Cleaning and Installation of Plaque



Camp Hughes Plaque on Granite Marker in the Gosport Cemetery



Ben Harrison Camp Members in Attendance at the Plaque Dedication - Left to Right:  Mike Beck (Commander)
Jerry Thompson (Secretary), Phil McClure (Past Camp Commander), John Copeland (Color Bearer),
Mike Tomey (Chaplain), Tim Beckman (Senior Vice Commander), and David Wiley (Council)



Members of the 27th Indiana Co. D, SVR and the 11th Indiana Reenactment Group Firing One of 
Three Vollies
During the Dedication Ritual


BEN HARRISON CAMP HELPS TO UNCOVER GOSPORT CEMETERY’S CIVIL WAR HISTORY
By Travis Curry, SEW Editor, published in Spencer Evening World, May 16, 2008

Unknown Civil War Graves Are Marked; Dedication Planned

Working side by side on an unseasonably warm early May morning, Garry Walls, John Copeland, Jerry Thompson, Mike Tomey and a handful of other members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Ben Harrison Camp No. 356 spent this Saturday leveling, cleaning and resetting more than a dozen Civil War grave markers in the Gosport Cemetery.

“As a camp we basically encompass everything south of U.S. 40 to the Ohio River,” Walls said, squinting from the late morning sun as he stopped to wipe sweat from his brow. “Each year we select one cemetery to clean and straighten Civil War markers… the fact that Camp Hughes was nearby makes this site special.”

With brush in hand and a simple bucket of water, no potentially harmful chemicals are used, the volunteers began to cleanse away years worth of dirt and mold from the more than century-old marker of John W. Graham, a member of the 154th Regiment Indiana Infantry first organized in Indianapolis on April 20, 1865. “It’s amazing what a little water and elbow grease will do,” Walls laughed.

For over two years the Ben Harrison Camp has embarked on a project to appropriately mark the final resting place of soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes, a Civil War training camp for the 59th Indiana once located one-half mile southwest of Gosport on the White River and named for former Congressman James Hughes.

Camp Hughes, the only known Civil War camp ever established in Owen County, was in existence from September 1861 to February 13, 1862 when the 59th left Camp Hughes bound for New Albany, Indiana and active duty.

Painstaking research by the camp’s senior vice commander, Tim Beckman, and camp historian, Dave Wiley, revealed that twelve men died while at Camp Hughes and that at least eight were buried in graves marked “unknown” at the Gosport Cemetery.

The 59th Indiana soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes apparently contracted measles and died between late January and February 1862.

It remains a mystery today why these men were buried in graves marked “UNKNOWN 59th IND INF,” as the microfilmed 59th Indiana Correspondence File at the Indiana State Archives lists eight names that were reported to have been “buried by their regiment in the Gosport Cemetery.”

The Ben Harrison Camp made arrangements for a plaque to be struck with the names of all twelve men who died while at Camp Hughes. The plaque was recently attached to a large granite marker already in place over the eight “unknown” graves.

According to Walls, the original block of rough grey granite was placed over the graves in October 1923 by L.R. Gray with the intention of having the marker either lettered or a bronze tablet attached.

Prior to the efforts of the Ben Harrison Camp volunteers, the granite stone simply read: IN MEMORIAM Died in Camp Hughes – 1861-2.

Walls said it was unclear whether the original organizers ever intended to list on the marker the individual names of the 59th soldiers who died while in camp.

The official public dedication of the new plaque will take place on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Ben Harrison Camp and its members are dedicated to preserving the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and its ancestors who fought to preserve the Union.

 

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This Page Last Updated on 07/20/2008