Lost Villages Museum commemorates Civil War Memorial anniversary

Rob McLachlan, left, president of the Greys & Blues of Montreal, and vice president, Stewart Irvine, stand in front of the National Memorial to Canadians who served in the American Civil War on the occasion of its first anniversary, September 8, 2018. (The Leader/Gibb photo)

LONG SAULT – “Over 40,000 Canadians served in the American Civil War,” said Rob McLachlan, president of the Blues & Greys of Montreal. “This is the only national memorial to their memory, and this is the first anniversary of the Memorial’s dedication. We are here to remember this special occasion.”

The Lost Villages Museum, home to the National Memorial Commemorating Canadians who served in the Civil War, welcomed re-enactors and visitors to the first anniversary of the Memorial, September 8-9, 2018.

Included in weekend event were infantry drills, artillery demonstrations, a mock battle and a special memorial service where new “bricks” were dedicated.

Re-enactors were on hand to share information and describe the history of several key Canadians who rose to prominence during the conflict. New information is being discovered every year.

The National Memorial at the Lost Villages Museum, on the outskirts of Cornwall, was completely paid for through private donations. The four year campaign raised the needed $70,000 from donors in the private and public sector, without any government funding, explained Stewart Irvine, the vice-president of the Blues and Greys of Montreal, a group dedicated to keeping alive the memory of Canadians who served in either the United or the Confederate States of America, 1860-1865.

The Memorial was officially dedicated on September 17, 2017.

“We never thought four years ago when we started this campaign with Jim Brownell, (past president of the Lost Villages Society), that we’d ever see so much interest across Canada for the project, or receive so much financial support,” said McLachlan. “It’s an honour to return to celebrate the first anniversary of the Memorial.”

Canadian families who traced their ancestors that had served in the War, placed special memorial bricks at the monument to honour them.

While Canada was technically neutral during the Civil War, many Canadians, for a variety of reasons, chose to fight in the War, the majority on the side of the United States. Family ties, private convictions, sometimes the promises of recruiters all played a part in the decision to serve made by Canadians, especially those who lived near the American border.

“It was important to us to build our memorial to these men near the border,” said McLachlan. “And we wanted the Memorial to be at the site of a living history museum, not in some out of the way place. The Lost Villages was an excellent choice.”