Photos by Roger Gavan
Plaque Committee members and researchers Bruce Crandall and Warren McFarland unveiled the plaque.
WARWICK — More than 700 citizens of Warwick fought in the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. And on Saturday, Aug. 9, some of their descendents, along with many others, gathered at the Warwick Town Hall to honor these soldiers at an unveiling of a plaque displaying all of their names.Former Town of Warwick Supervisor Tony Houston, who is also Ellis Camp 124 junior vice-commander and a member of the Plaque Committee, served as emcee.Houston pointed out that although the 124th New York Volunteer infantry, known as the "Orange Blossoms," was the largest Warwick Company to serve in the Civil War, there were many other volunteers. And that is why there are 709 names on the plaque."I think we may have missed one," later said committee member and researcher Warren McFarland.Warwick High School and Honors Program student Alex Morales read from his essay on the history of the long and costly conflict to preserve the Union that took the lives of more than 600,00 Americans and wounded more than 400,000 more. The numbers, he reported, greater than in any other American war, are especially startling in view of the much lower population at that time.Garett Wood Houston, great-great-great-grandson of Capt. John Wood Houston, who was wounded in 1864, then read from a speech his ancestor gave in 1880. Tony Houston hasthe original. Jeffrey Albanese, Ellis Camp 124 Patriotic Instructor and Past Department Commander, explained that his organization, which is open to any male descendant of someone who served our nation during the Civil War, was not a reenactment group but rather designed to preserve the memory of those who fought with the Grand Army of the Republic. He read a letter from the front, written by his great-great-grandfather, Charles Dickerson, to his wife.Ludger Balan, living historian for the NY 26th U.S. Colored Troops, told the story of David Carll of Oyster Bay, Long Island. Carll, a free black man at the time, who also happens to be the ancestor of actress Venessa Williams, was a private in Company I, 26th Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.), in the final years of the Civil War.Balan reported that there were over 100,000 black soldiers who fought in the Civil War and over 4,000 were from New York. He urged everyone, especially youngsters, to learn their history.During the ceremonies, the Warwick Valley Chorale, led by Stanley Curtis, sang several songs ranging from "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," to "Let There be Peace onEarth." At the conclusion of the event, Plaque Committee members and researchers Bruce Crandall and Warren McFarland unveiled the plaque.