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Civil War Union veterans honored with new headstones in Council Bluffs

Posted at 7:42 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 08:49:51-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — In honor of Military Appreciation Week, KMTV is highlighting acts of duty, honor, and service in our viewing area. One exemplifying act of honor took place this month.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) was founded in 1883.

One of its priorities is to locate the resting places of all Union Civil War veterans and to see them properly marked.

“Not a lot of places like this,” Iowa’s SUVCW Department Graves Registration Officer Roy Linn said.

The place is Kinsman Monument in Council Bluffs' Fairview Cemetery. Where veterans who served for the Union Army in the Civil War were laid to rest.

“Some of these have been unmarked for well over 100 years,” Linn said.

Not anymore.

“We are dedicating 35 stones for men who never got a headstone, and one for the men we could not locate but know they are here,” Captain of Kinsman Camp and Guard Michael Carr said.

It was a joint effort between Colonel William Kinsman Camp, SUVCW of Atlantic, Iowa, and the Veterans Administration.

Making this happen was no small feat. It took several hundreds of hours researching who these soldiers were and what regiment they served for, along with ordering and preparing all the stones.

The pandemic added another hurdle. However, nothing was going to stop them.

“We sent over 76,000 men, which is the most of any state, and we lost 13,000, which is also the most of any state per capita,” Carr said. “So, Iowa did its share and then some.”

“You look at the dates on the stones and the regiments that they served in — they came from everywhere,” Linn said. “They became the doctors and the lawyers and the farmers and the railroad men to build this community.”

Not just shaping the community, but the country and the world.

“Probably the four most important years in American history,” Carr said. “If we hadn’t won the war, who knows how our country would’ve turned out.”

Due to the length of time that has passed only two people were identified in relation to the veterans they discovered.

Before the project they said it was one of the most unmarked places that they knew of — that's not the case anymore.

WATCH additional KMTV stories this Military Appreciation Month.