LONG SAULT – According to historians, the United States Civil War was the largest and bloodiest war fought in North America. While the war has been well documented, a little-known part of the history and connection to Canada became much more well known in Long Sault September 16th.
Canada’s first national monument to those from Canada (British North America) who fought on either side of the war was unveiled at a ceremony at Ault Park in South Stormont.
The monument is a project between multiple historical societies and was led by the Grays and Blues of Montreal, and the Lost Villages Historical Society. It commemorates the memory of the estimated 40,000 people who fought in the United States or Confederate States military, and 7,000 who died or were killed in battle.
“It is a great day for the Lost Villages,” said Jim Brownell, Lost Villages Historical Society president.
“This is a first. A national monument, the first national monument to the memory of those soldiers.”
The site was selected for the monument in 2013 and fundraising kicked off by the Grays and Blues.
“It really took off when we received a $10,000 donation, followed shortly after by an $8,000 donation,” said Brownell.
He added that all of the funds for the monument came from individual donors.
“There was tremendous support from South Stormont,” Brownell said.
A crowd of over 250 people were on hand, along with Civil War re-enactors, the SD and G Highlanders, and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets 110 Stormont Corps took part in the unveiling.
“It is great that we are learning more about the history of this,” said Jean Rioux, parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Minister of National Defence. “I’m a retired history teacher and I didn’t know about this.”
Brownell who was co-chair of the event and also a retired teacher, chimed in that he did not as well.
Event co-chair and president of the Grays and Blues Robert McLachlan said the monument is not to glorify the Civil War, only to remember the Canadians who served.
The US Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865. Of the over 40,000 Canadians who fought in the war, 29 of the enlistees won the U.S. Medal of Honor. Five of the enlistees rose to the rank of General.
Reaction in British North America to the Civil War and the possible ramifications to colonies helped prompt the Charlottetown Conference in Prince Edward Island in 1864, leading to Confederation on July 1st, 1867.
The monument is located at the Lost Villages Museum, Ault Park in South Stormont, along County Road 2.
For more photos from the event, please view the gallery below: