Groups help pay for headstones for Wisconsin soldiers killed in Civil War

MILWAUKEE -- A special ceremony was held Saturday, Sept. 28 to honor two Wisconsin soldiers that died in the Civil War.

Sgt. Horace Dangerfield of the 13th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, Co. F, died in 1893, and Cpl. Edward Allen, 43rd Wisconsin infantry, Co. A, died in 1865.
They are buried at Forest Home Cemetery but never had a gravestone.

The headstones are free from the VA, but because this was a private ceremony, they cost money to install.

That changed on Saturday. The tombstones were funded by the CK Pier Badger Camp #1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and Auxiliary 4 under Forest Home Cemetery's Adopt a Soldier program, which offers a reduced cost of setting headstones via donations to the Forest Home Historic Preservation Association, established in 2013.

"There's an unwritten rule," said Tom Ludka, who helped get the headstones installed. "I'm a veteran. You leave no veteran behind. You take care of them and take care of their families. That's part of it, but another reason is we're losing our history. It's important because one day we'll be gone. These stones will be here, and hopefully, that history will not be lost."

Six years ago, there were about 200 Civil War soldiers buried in unmarked graves at Forest Home Cemetery.

Thanks to the work of these groups, that number dropped down to just 15.