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The 69th Gravestone Project

One of the most important projects of the 69th Pennsylvania “Irish Volunteers is the placement of headstone markers on the graves of the many men who fought with the regiment during the Civil War and still, after more than 100 years had never had a gravestone marker placed upon their final resting place. For all these years, they lay buried in cemeteries around the United States without any marker to identify their gravesite. Some had died during the war and had been brought home from the battlefield by their families to Philadelphia area cemeteries but their families lacked the financial ability to purchase a gravestone for them. Others had survived after the war and died over the years to be buried without a gravestone. For the past 25 years the 69th Pa reenactor organization has researched and located “these final resting places” and has worked with the Veterans Administration in Washington to provide headstones for these men. The research work includes examination of pension files and grave records; communication with the VA including filing of government papers. The VA and local cemeteries for many years have required the submission of affidavits from surviving descendants as part of the process. In addition, fees for gravestone placement and “perpetual care” are required. To date the 69th Pa has spent more than $ 40,000 for these expenses.

The 69th Pa holds a ceremony each time a new gravestone is placed, inviting known descendants to join us at the occasion. To date we have been joined by descendants from across the nation from coast to coast for these ceremonies. The ceremonies include a brief biography of the soldier; placement of Irish Soil on the grave site; placement of American and Irish flags; religious rites and a three gun volley over the grave. We always welcome comments from attending descendants. To date we have located the burial sites of more than 822 soldiers who fought with the 69th Pa during the war. We have placed 107 new gravestones and have honored 229 burial locations. Our goal is to recognize and honor each soldier who served and still lacks a gravestone marker.


Firing the Salute
Lined Up to Honor