Union Grave Markers Rededication Service at the Boone Cemetery held on Sunday, April 8

Published Monday, April 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

By Nathan Ham

Three Union Soldiers from the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry were honored through a rededication of their headstones in the Boone Cemetery. The ceremony took place on Sunday afternoon.

Pvt. William T. Bradley, Pvt. Henry P. Evans and Pvt. John E. Maricle were buried in what used to be known as the Councill Cemetery.

Pvt. Bradley was a member of Company B of the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, joining on September 25, 1863. Bradley was born in Rutherford County and was a farmer before joining the Union army. Bradley saw his first action in Knoxville, Tennessee. He died from typhoid pneumonia on April 10, 1865.

Pvt. Evans enrolled in Company F of the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry on October 1, 1863. He was born in Buncombe County and was also a farmer. He saw his first action at Walker’s Ford, Tennessee. Evans died of sickness on April 16, 1865.

Pvt. Maricle was a member of Company H of the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, joining on October 10, 1864. He was born in Harlan County, Kentucky. Maricle saw his first action at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. He died of measles on April 15, 1865.

The three soldiers and their regiments provided support for Stoneman’s Raid, let by Major General George Stoneman in 1865, designed to cut off Confederate escape routes into the mountains. These soldiers were not involved in the skirmish in Boone on March 28 of that year that involved the killing of three Boone residents.

In the 1990s, the three headstones of these men were displaced from the burial sites and vandals later stole two of the three stones. The third one was badly damaged. Through the use of ground-penetrating radar, the gravesites were located and new headstones from the Veteran’s Administration were put in the correct places. Two of the three original stones, the one for Pvt. Bradley and the one for Pvt. Evans, had their names misspelled.

Dr. Eric Plaag, chairman of the Boone Historic Preservation Commission, spoke at the ceremony, not only about the three men, but about the difficult era that the Civil War brought about in the United States.

“They were not slave owners. They were not politicians. They were not powerful businessmen who played both sides in the interest of war profiteering. They were the lowest ranking of the rank and file, men whose lives had been disrupted by conscription. All three were poor farmers who probably had no dog in the fight over the question of slavery,” Dr. Plagg said. “Evans was 33 years old, Maricle was 29. Bradley was an 18-year-old boy. As was the cast for most Civil War dead, these men were cut down not by bullets, but horrific diseases like typhoid pneumonia and measles.”

Dr. Plagg continued on, adding that these men were most likely given the choice to either fight for the Union army or go to a federal prison camp.

He also shared a brief story about Benjamin Councill, Sr., whose land that the men are buried on, along with his son, Jacob.

“In late March 1865, Mr. Councill hauled up this hill the coffin containing his son, Jacob Mast Councill, who had been murdered in cold blood by Union occupiers, and laid his son to his final rest. Two weeks later, Mr. Councill consented to his land being used for the burial of three other men, this time from the same army that had killed his son. When federal officials returned 14 years later to erect proper memorials on their graves, the Councill family, who still owned the land, did not object,” Dr. Plagg said. “May we all be accorded such respect by those with good cause to dismiss us as their enemies. May their graves be treated with respect and care, and the complexity of their lives and their history be honored and remembered for centuries to come.”

Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz also spoke briefly at the ceremony.

“For the last 15 years, Boone has recovered more and more of its past. Today’s ceremony adds another important chapter to our community’s history,” Brantz said.

The town of Boone would like to thank bugler Michael Bosse` Cornett Deal Christmas Tree Farm, Christy Marsh Turner (Town of Boone Planning and Inspections) and the Major General George Stoneman Camp No. 6 for making the ceremony possible.

A crowd gathered for the unveiling of new grave markers for three Union soldiers in a ceremony on Sunday afternoon at the Boone Cemetary

Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz spoke during the rededication ceremony.

Dr. Erig Plaag, the chair of the Boone Historic Preservation Commission, shared information on the three soldiers buried here and spoke at length about the difficult times presented during the Civil War.

Major General George Stoneman Camp No. 6 and the Department of North Carolina Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War unveiled the new headstones for the three soldiers.

Wreaths were placed on each of the three grave sites.

A special gun salute was held in honor of the three soldiers.

The final resting places for Pvt. William T. Bradley, Pvt. Henry P. Evans and Private John E. Maricle.

Representatives for the town of Boone and Watauga County were in attendance for Sunday’s event.



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