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The Carthage Press
  • Ceremony honors Civil War veteran of Pickett’s Charge

  • In life, Moses Waldron was a private in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia for the duration of that army's four-year existence during the Civil War.
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  • In life, Moses Waldron was a private in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia for the duration of that army's four-year existence during the Civil War.
    Waldron was 17 when the war began and 21 when it ended.
    On Friday, Waldron became the focal point of a ceremony honoring those who died in that terrible conflict.
    The annual Battle of Carthage Anniversary Vespers Service, usually held at the State Historic Site on east Chestnut street, was held this year at Park Cemetery near the grave of Moses Waldron. It was held this year in honor of both the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Carthage and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which turned the tide of the Civil War from July 1-3, 1863.
    Carthage Historian Steve Cottrell said Waldron, who grew up in Stewartsville, Virginia, was a teenager when he joined the fight.
    “From the Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run, in 1861, to Lee's Surrender at Appomattox in 1865, he served in the Army of Northern Virginia,” Cottrell said. “A farmer most of his life, in his later years he moved to Carthage here where he served as a nighttime security guard on the town square in a unit known then as the Carthage Merchant's Police, I believe the city's first police force.”
    At Gettysburg, Waldron participated in one of the bloodiest, bravest, and most futile charges in military history, an action that would become known as Pickett's Charge, after the Confederate General, George Pickett, whose units led the charge.
    “Moses was part of Gen. George Pickett's division which on the third day of one of history's greatest battles was sent against the center of the Union battle line,” Cottrell said. “It was one of the most dramatic and tragic charges in all of world military history; 12,000 Confederate soldiers stepped out of the woods along Seminary Ridge to cross an open field one mile long to march headlong into the gunfire and the cannons and rifles of the Union Army waiting for them on the other side of that field.”
    Friday's ceremony included a color guard of local Civil War reenactors dressed in Union and Confederate uniforms, and a ceremonial volley of musket fire in honor of fallen soldiers.
    Irene VanGilder, widow of Marvin VanGilder, the Carthage Historian and former Carthage Press Editor who led these vespers services for years, thanked the crowd and organizers for continuing these services since Marvin's death three years ago.

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