When folks ask me why I insist on visiting the grave sites of people associated with the 1st U.S. Chasseurs (or 65th NY Volunteers), I’m not sure that I am always able to explain it well. Certainly visiting a quiet graveyard often otherwise empty of visitors is not quite the same as visiting the beautiful Sailors Creek, Malvern Hill, Antietam, or Cedar Creek battlefields. But just as putting oneself on the fields where these horrific battles occurred, visiting the last resting place of a member of the Chasseur regiment, or a commander of their unit, is a way to acknowledge the connection to a person of note from the regiment’s history. I also feel strongly that paying respects to these brave veterans is always a good thing, particularly in a world which often forgets its history, or what it owes to those who came before us. Often their very sacrifices are why we live as well as we do today. I think there is an OCD element of it for me as well: as a completist I am anxious to visit as many Chasseur officer and soldier graves as possible. With great web resources like Findagrave.com revealing new information all the time, it is always possible to visit another Chasseur grave. Today I traveled directly from track practice to Bergenfield, NJ to visit the grave of Captain Frederick T. Volk. As his 1864 daily diary was an outstanding source for me on the time the 65th NY spent as prison guards at Johnsons Island prison camp in Ohio, as well as the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania (the latter battle where Volk was twice wounded and forced to spend much of the rest of the year recovering), my visit to his grave, once discovered on line, became imperative. I found it easily within the churchyard cemetery, within the first three minutes of my visit. A flag which had been placed there by another visitor was on the ground, so I put it back upright, as well as cleaned up the dried grass which had been thrown over the grave by mowing, before taking my picture.
Published by 65th NY Guy
I am a high school history teacher in my 34th year of teaching. I have been studying the 65th NY Infantry, my great-great grandfather's regiment, since 1993. After 8 years of writing, I recently finally published my history of the regiment, "No Flinching From Fire." I also coach cross country and track and field, and I have a wife and two daughters. View more posts