4 Days Across New York State with My Daughter, Searching for Chasseur Graves

My daughter Rachel is something.  She spent 4 days traveling with me over the Memorial Day weekend this year, while socially distancing, to find the gravesites of 65th NY soldiers who are listed on a database made by the NY State Military History Museum as being buried across the state.  Finding the graves, we would plant a flag there to honor them.  It was a long trip with a lot of driving, taking us from Bath to Redfield, NY, with a lot of places in between.  

Upon returning home, Rachel devoted herself to doing her own research to find more graves,  Knowing that Findagrave.com has a huge database of gravesites all over the world, most of them with photographs, and having already spent time combing through the regimental roster as part of her research in support of my first book, Rachel decided to cross reference 65th NY soldiers with Findagrave, developing systems to narrow down the search so that she was able to make a definite match between a Findagrave post and a 65th NY soldier’s resting place.  To date, she has found over 120 graves.  My encouragement of paying her for her work has incentivized it, but she truly enjoys the search, and is so smart that she has become highly successful at it.

As a result, we now have a list of 20 or so soldiers buried in NY state.  A few are local for us, so a visit to the beautiful Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, for example, is easily made.  But enough are upstate that we made plans at the end of this weird summer of 2020 to follow where her research led and repeat the process of a trip to visit the gravesites again, plant flags, take photographs, and honor the courage and sacrifice of these men who helped save their country.  It was up to me to look though the spreadsheet she had created and figure out an itinerary for another trip.  With time constraints, we had three nights.  So some graves would have to be saved for future trips.  However, with a big circle around the Southern Tier, Western New York, and the western Finger Lakes region, we had the means to visit over a dozen graves, or so I thought.

I enjoy the preparation process for our trips, both finding AIrBnB places to stay, and charting the routes between cemeteries. Having done it back in May, I knew that many of upstate New York’s rural roads are quite scenic, but that after days of driving and searching, one does get tired.  So, I went into the planning for this second trip with two assumptions:  1.  After a longish drive to get up there, we would try to limit how many hours we would be on the road for the middle of the trip, to make each day a little less exhausting and leave us something left for a long drive home with a few stops on the fourth day.  2.  We would only visit gravesites which had photos on Findagrave.com.  It is so much easier to look for graves, especially when we do not have a plot site, when one has a photograph as a reference while one is scouring the cemeteries for the Chasseur’s burial site.  The Memorial Day weekend we found six graves over our first two days, but on day three we only found one of two graves we searched for, and even that second grave was so worn down that we only found it because we had a plot listed for it.  And we searched the first one for over an hour before giving up and realizing that 65th NY soldier John Beine’s  stone had either been buried or destroyed.  The drive to find the second grave was a long one, and a frustrating search at the wrong cemetery before figuring that out and finding the worn out grave of William H. Corey at the second graveyard near the end of a long day was trying.  We would try to make an easier trip this time, with shorter drives to cemeteries with graves which Findagrave.com volunteers had already photographed.

For our first day’s goal, we would drive back to the Bath National Cemetery, sight of a Soldier’s Home and a current Veteran’s Administration hospital.  We had made that our first stop back in May, when we found two graves of Chasseurs there who were on the NY State Military History Museum list.  This time, we were seeking the graves of three or perhaps four Chasseurs buried there who Rachel had found in her research.  We knew the drive, knew how beautiful the cemetery was, and knew that it was a great cemetery in that not only were the sections and rows of graves well marked and organized, but that most of the stones there had the soldier’s unit on the gravestone.  It was special to find a grave which said 65th New York right on the stone, as this removed any doubt that this man was a member of the regiment which I had studied so long and wrote about in No Flinching From Fire.  

Day One

The drive up to Bath was uneventful but for a little spotty rain, and this had cleared up by the time we revisited the cemetery, driving through the now familiar campus of the Bath Soldiers’ Home.  It had become a sunny and warm day with big cumulus clouds occasionally covering the sun and giving us some relief as we searched for the graves.  We managed to find the four graves we came to see with little difficulty, and determined that one of the soldiers may or may not have served with the 65th NY; as there remained doubt, we chose to not decorate that grave.

The author’s daughter Rachel, searching for Chasseur graves with flags ready to plant there (photo by author)

Pvt. Andrew Rising enlisted in March 1865 at Lockport to serve one year, and thus likely saw action in the Petersburg and Appomattox campaigns before war’s end.  He deserted in July 1865, only days before the regiment was mustered out of service. (photo by author)

Cpl. Leon Doerr joined the regiment at the end of March 1865 and mustered out in July 1865 (photo by author)

Pvt. Michael Manahan mustered in as a 1st class musician in January 1862, and mustered out with the rest of the band in March 1862 (photo by author)

Having found the graves we had come to see, Rachel, who enjoys searching in the graveyards for Chasseur graves as much as she enjoys finding them through her online research, proposed that we search the cemetery for other Chasseur graves by sweeping through the rows of civil war graves looking for any stones which denoted the 65th or 67th NY, the latter regiment having consolidated into the 65th on September 1, 1864.  We still had some time left in the afternoon before we needed to head to our first night’s AirBnB stay in Alfred, New York.  So, I agreed to walk under the strong sun and scan the rows, despite the large numbers of graves we walked through.  Within minutes, we found more 65th New York graves, until by the end of the day we had found no less than thirteen of them.  It was clear, knowing our plans for the next three days, that we would need more flags!  We left Bath with a tremendous sense of accomplishment, having found eleven Chasseur graves there in addition to the two graves which we revisited and honored with new flags, the flags we had left in May having been removed.  It was an auspicious start to the trip.

Pvt. Thomas Teer transferred into the 65th Ny on Spet. 1, 1864 and served out the war with the Chasseurs (photo by author)

Pvt. Theron Lapham enlisted in Yonkers and served the entire war (photo by author)

Private Phillips served three years in the regiment (photo by author)

The grave of Private Charles Kiessell (photo by author)

Pvt. Richard M. Franklin transferred into the 65th NY from the 67th NY on Sept. 1, 1864 and served out the war (photo by author)

Pvt. John Baker enlisted in February 1864 and was wounded at Spotsylvania on May 15, 1864 (photo by author)

Private James Kelly was a transfer from the 67th who was wounded in action at 3rd Winchester of September 19, 1864 (photo by author)

Pvt. James Callahan served the entire war (photo by author)

Sgt. Hugh McClusky transferred in with the 67th NY and served out the war with the Chasseurs (photo by author)

Day Two

Rachel and I knew that we had less driving to do today since we had made it upstate, but with six stops before we arrived at the end of the day in Newfane, New York, northeast of Buffalo.  I knew Newfane as the home of a strong high school cross country program whose boys had finished one point behind the team I coach in Irvington in the fall of 2018 at the New York state championship meet.  We planned on getting chicken wings for dinner since we were close to Buffalo, the birthplace of “Buffalo” chicken wings.  But we had work to do first.  We headed west from Alfred to our first stop in the Southern Tier of New York, the Fairlawn Cemetery in Scio.  We looked at the photograph we saw, figured out together where the blue house in the background was, and found Private Edward Canfield’s grave quickly.  Canfield was a transfer from the 67th NY who died of disease on February 3, 1865, at the Haddington U.S. General Hospital in Philadelphia.  As it says on his gravestone, he was  “a brave soldier and true patriot.” 

Edward Canfield (photo by Rachel Barry)

The drive west and north to Sugartown took us over a mountain in the Allegheny Range once we got off of Interstate 86 and ended at a cemetery that had no parking or auto access on a busy rural road, but we got over the mountain road then parked roadside with the hazard lights on as I hoped it would not take too long to find Private Clark Bowen’s grave in the small cemetery.  His grave was near the road, and we did not linger long as we placed the flag and took a picture and moved on to a safer place to leave the car.

Private Bowen enlisted in March 1865 into Company K (photo by author)

We safely got on the road, hoping to avoid precarious parking spots and steep mountain roads on our way to the East Otto Cemetery to find Private Abraham Woodruff’s grave.  Woodruff was a late-war transfer from the 121st New York Volunteers who only served a few weeks in the 65th. The East Otto cemetery was not on Google Maps, but over time I have figured out that small rural towns often have their cemeteries on a hill, so we moved uphill through town and, sure enough, found the cemetery on the right of the road.  We found Woodruff’s grave quickly, left a flag and took our picture.  Then, it was back on the road.  The three little rural cemeteries were lovely, but not too hard to search and find and honor our Chasseur veterans.  Now we were on to Buffalo’s huge Forest Lawn Cemetery to find Private Abram Verplank’s gravesite.   

Pvt. Abraham Woodruff (photo by author)

Rachel is a great partner on these road trips, not only working the navigation, but humoring me as I continually guess how many minutes we have, according to Google maps, until we arrive at our next destination.  Getting into Buffalo went smoothly, and as we drove around the perimeter of the Forest Lawn Cemetery searching for the main gate we could see its vastness.  Comprising 269 acres, it is a beautiful nineteenth century cemetery of the rural cemetery era, with huge trees and a lovely landscape.  We had the section of Abram Verplank’s gravesite on Findagrave.com, but we definitely were happy to get a map from the friendly gatekeeper when we asked him where Section K was in the cemetery.  A small section on a little hill, Section K was not too hard to search, but the worn down and nondescript status of Verplank’s gravestone made it just a little tricky.  Rachel found the grave, as she has spotted most of the graves on this trip so far, and we planted our flag and took the picture.  With some time remaining in the afternoon and only two more stops left before we finished our planned itinerary, Rachel looked over the cemetery website to see if the cemetery contained any graves of people we felt it important to visit, and we found two.  

1st Lt. Abram Verplank served two years with the regiment. (photo by author)

President Millard Fillore’s grave was in the next section, so close we need not get in the car despite how big the cemetery is.  As we had visited his home in May during our first trip upstate, I thought it was appropriate to visit him in his last resting place as well.  Fillmore’s grave was simple and well maintained, the American flag there helping us to spot it quickly.  Protected by an iron fence, the gravesite revealed the importance of its occupant, even though no one would pick Fillmore as a particularly important President, and his political career was marred by his 1856 Presidential run for the nativist American Party.

President Millard Fillmore’s grave, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York (photo by author)

Before leaving, there was a grave in the cemetery’s Birchwood mausoleum, which Rachel knew was a must-visit.  Representative Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American Congresswoman and a 1972 candidate for President, rests there.  We stopped by and took a picture of the site before heading out.  Chisholm was an inspiration for American women, black and white, and for any Americans who look for social and political progress.  

The grave of the Honorable Shirley Chisholm (photo by author)

Since we were nearby anyway, in plotting the itinerary for this trip, Rachel and I had agreed a trip to Niagara Falls was in order.  So we were headed there next.  Driving along the Niagara River north and over the two very steep bridges which linked Grand Island to the mainland was scenic, and I was excited that Rachel would be seeing the Falls for the first time.  We were turned away at the full lot in the park but easily found parking a few blocks away.  Walking past some of the beautiful but now boarded up art deco buildings like the Niagara Hotel, one could see that the city was struggling, but on this nice summer day there was a decent crowd eating outdoors at restaurants despite the Pandemic.  The walk along the section of the river called “Hell’s Half-Acre” was awesome, and reaching the edge, and the Falls themselves, was still impactful even for one who had been there years before.  Nature’s power is of course readily evident in Niagara Falls, and I was glad we got a glimpse of Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side as well, even though a crossing into Canada was not possible under current circumstances.

Rachel at Niagara Falls (photo by author)

After a walk back to the car it was on to our last cemetery of the day, in Lockport, New York.  We were tempted by the smells from the Indian food stand as we walked to the car, but we had decided last night that since we were in the Buffalo area we would be having chicken wings for dinner, and we stuck to our guns.  The drive out of the city of Niagara Falls took us through an old industrial area, but gradually the development gave way to another nice rural road.  Lockport itself, centered on the Erie Canal, was a surprisingly vibrant and nice town with a great old housing stock which was well maintained.  The Cold Springs Cemetery in Lockport was large, but we had a section number and a photo and we managed after about five to seven minutes to find the last Chasseur grave of the day, that of Private Oliver Stafford.  Stafford was another late-war recruit, signing up in February 1865 and mustering out in July 1865.

Private Oliver Stafford’s grave on a sunny summer day (photo by author)

After a long but highly successful day, it was a short drive due north to Newfane, where our AirBnB apartment awaited.  Newfane was a smaller place than Lockport, but our place was located right in the middle of town, and we managed to find a nearby restaurant from which we could order out buffalo wings, which were delicious.  I walked a few blocks to pick them up, having had enough car time for the day and wanting to stretch my legs.  We enjoyed a simple dinner in our cosy and very clean apartment, delighted at how smoothly our day had gone.  We had found another five Chasseur graves today, making the two-day total eighteen.  And we had also seen graves of a President and a towering figure of the late 20th century in Representative Shirley Chisholm.  And Niagara Falls was an awesome place and I hoped a lifetime memory for Rachel.  I was tired, but highly satisfied.  Tomorrow would bring another drive, this time to Lake Ontario, then eastward and southward into the Finger Lakes country, where we would be staying in a room on a farm.

Day Three

A quick drive north from Newfane the next morning took us to Lake Ontario, an impressive sight.  We drove along the lake for a time, then we lost sight of the lake.  When we pulled onto the firm grass next to the tiny Sawyer Cemetery just outside Somerset, New York, surrounded by fields of corn, we were perhaps cocky to think how easy it would be to find Private Johnson Aldrich’s grave.  We had a photograph of the grave from Findagrave.com, and the cemetery was easily the smallest we had been in.  It was another lovely day.  But something was not right.  We could not find the grave, even despite the clear picture.  It simply was not there.  We scoured the little cemetery, going over it twice.  We both looked into the nearby rows of corn, wondering if the fields had been allowed to grow over a part of the cemetery.  We looked under the two or three evergreen trees in the cemetery in case one had grown over the grave since the Findagrave.com photograph had been taken.  I had to convince Rachel that there was clearly a mistake and we had to give up looking.  Perhaps after our two days of smooth sailing we were due for a challenge.  Findagrave.com was not always perfect; mistakes do occur.  We got back in the car and headed into Somerset.  A few miles up the road, the Somerset Cemetery beckoned.  I wondered if in fact Private Aldrich’s grave could be there, so we pulled in.  It was a larger cemetery than the Sawyer Cemetery, but not large. As we drove around the loop within the cemetery, Rachel spotted it.  Aldrich had enlisted in early March 1865, and served through the end of the war.  We were pleased that our streak continued, and that we had figured out the puzzle ourselves.  I made sure later that day after we arrived at our third AirBnB to update the Findagrave site for Aldrich to help others who may follow.  

Rachel at the graveside of Private Johnson Aldrich, in Somerset, New York (photo by author)

Millville, New York was our next destination.  The Millville Cemetery was one of those small church cemeteries on a rural road which is beautiful, peaceful, and quiet.  We found Private William Hunt’s grave from the car, walked to it and took our photo after planting our flag.  We had brought up twenty-one flags, and we were now down to our last one.  We were so pleased with our success in this venture to this point!

Private Hunt joined the 65th NY in February 1865 and served until the end of the war.  (photo by author)

A quick stop in Batavia netted us ten new flags at the Home Depot.  Made in America, they were right near the entrance and of course Rachel spotted them immediately.  We were now well supplied for the remainder of the trip, and it was off to the Batavia Cemetery.  Private Damon Yates had only transferred into the 65th NY from the 121st New York in late June 1865, just before war’s end, but he did have the 65th NY appellation on his gravestone, small as it was.  Rachel was in favor of finding the grave physically, having found it on line.  I was skeptical when we drove into the rather large Batavia Cemetery, especially given the small, humble, and commonly designed stone at Yates’ grave.  But leave it to Rachel, she found him within five minutes while I was taking a phone call from an old friend.

The humble grave of Private Damon Yates (photo by author)

The drive out of Batavia was easy; our next stop was the lovely little village of East Bloomfield.  We drove through Avon on the way–we had stopped to honor two graves there on our Memorial Day weekend trip a few months before.  Upon arrival, the East Bloomfield Cemetery was larger than one might expect for a small town.  We drove the now familiar inverted U-shaped roadway which went through the cemetery, searching for the simple but classic grey square stone which marked the grave of Private Asahel Totman.   I was pleased to spot it myself, right next to the roadway.  Though not a competition, Rachel had found each of the graves thus far today, and I wanted to make sure I could pull my weight.  Besides, Totman had easily my favorite name of any of the Chasseurs of the trip.

Private Totman enlisted in September, 1864 and served until the end of the war. (photo by author)

East Bloomfield’s village green was right near the cemetery, and its Civil War memorial was most impressive.  We took a photo before leaving town, with me wondering how often people of the village paused and considered how lucky they were to have such a spectacular memorial in the center of their village to their veterans of the Civil War.  Marked with the names of battles in which the local men had fought, along with their names and units, it was a fitting tribute to their sacrifice.

The impressive Civil War Memorial in East Bloomfield, New York (photo by author)

From East Bloomfield, we were off to Naples.  Now entering the Finger Lakes region, we were now starting towards home.  But more gravesites beckoned first, and we knew we could make it to two more sites before arriving at our farm in Bradford if we were willing to push it a bit.  Given that we still had plenty of light, and that the several stops today had broken up the driving, and knowing that tomorrow was a long trip home with a few key stops and taking on one more grave today would make tomorrow’s driving a little shorter, we embraced the idea of making two more stops today before calling it a day.

The drive to Naples was gorgeous.  The rolling hills of the Finger Lake country, with wineries noted on signs along the way, is yet another scenic part of New York state.  If these trips upstate have taught us anything, it is that we are lucky to live in a truly beautiful state.  Arriving in the surprisingly large Rose Ridge cemetery, armed with no grave site and a closeup picture that did not help us to identify the stone very much, Rachel and I knew that this was our most challenging grave to find of the day.  And the fact that it was late afternoon and the biting bugs were out did not make it any easier.  We did a thorough search of the cemetery, separating so we could cover more ground.  Of course, Rachel found the grave.  

Though Lt. Edwin Yaw transferred into the 65th NY from the 67th NY on Sept. 1, 1864, he was already a prisoner of war, having been captured on May 6, 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness, and remained so until March of 1865, when he was paroled and then discharged.  So he was technically a member of the 65th, but he likely never served with the regiment.  This did not make the bug bites feel any better, but we knew we were being thorough at least and were not (knowingly, at least) leaving any Chassseurs behind.  We took our photographs and headed back to the car.  It was getting late, but we figured we could squeeze in one more grave before the end of the day.  We were ambitious on this trip.  If we found and honored a sixth grave today, that would make 24 graves in three days, an impressive feat.

The author at the grave of Lt. Edwin Yaw in Naples (photo by Rachel Barry)

The Dundee cemetery was on the way to our AirBnB stay on a farm overlooking Lake Ladoga in Bradford.  So I messaged our host that we would be arriving late, around 7 PM, and we headed through upstate New York wine country to Dundee.  After a drive of almost an hour, which included a stop at a Mennonite farm stand with an abundant array of delicious fruits and vegetables where I am sure we were the customers of the day after we bought enough to resupply our family upon our return home.  We searched the surprisingly large Dundee Cemetery and Rachel found our last gravesite of the day  in only ten minutes or so.  Sgt. Benjamin Slack transferred into the 65th with the rest of the 67th NY on Sept. 1, 1864, and served until war’s end.  His small gravestone was much like many in the cemetery, so I was impressed with how easily Rachel found it.  We are both getting good at this.

Sgt. Benjamin Slack’s grave needs some restoration (photo by author)

Day Four

While the room at the “quaint farm” advertised on AirBnB turned out to be a room in a mobile home, the farm itself was in a beautiful location overlooking Lamoka Lake.  Raising sheep, ducks, turkeys, cattle, and pigs while holding two full-time jobs, Anastasia and her husband impressed me with how hard it is to make ends meet in parts of our country these days.  That said, while she worked as an operator at a nearby Salt Mine on the overnight shift, Anastasia said she slept five hours a night and took a short nap most days and that was all she needed, and that she and her husband were glad not to be dairy farmers, as they had more income options selling meat than they would on a dairy farm, were less regulated than dairy farmers, and they were less tied to the farm.  When I asked her what the farm raised, and she said they had just acquired a few piglets to go with the other animals, she described them as “bacon bits.”  No romance there.  I had a scenic run in the morning before breakfast, and enjoyed the coffee she made for me and the scrambled duck eggs with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning.  Rachel and I had never eaten duck eggs; they have more protein than chicken eggs, Anastasia told me.  They were good.

It was a three hour drive to our first gravesite on our way home on this fourth and final day of our trip.  With a total of about seven hours to drive this day, we had a shorter list of graves to visit than the other days.  However, we also had the key visit of the day, and maybe of the trip—a farm in Fort Plain, next door to the Palatine Church, a lovely limestone structure built by German Palatines in 1770.  The farm happened to be the birthplace of General John Cochrane, the first commander of the 65th New York Volunteers.  One day I hope to write his biography.  The Cochran farm was built by John Cochrane’s grandfather, who was a doctor in the Continental Army.  Somewhere along the line the “e” was added to the family name.  The website I found indicated that the Cochran farm currently produced goat cheese, but it had not been updated since 2015, and I had no responses to my two queries on the site.  So our plan was to simply drive onto the farm and ask permission to take some pictures of the farmhouse. I thought we might buy some goat cheese and put it on ice for the trip home to smooth over things.  With a Chasseur lieutenant buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, where Cochrane himself is buried, along with President Chester Arthur, I thought we might stop there since it was on our way home, if we were not totally burned out by then.

A three hour drive north and east began with a scenic route along Keuka Lake north.  After a stop for gas in Penn Yan and some more driving, we were back on the New York State Thruway, heading east.  Dolgeville was our first stop.  The town was a little worn, but the cemetery was lovely.  Rachel found the grave within a minute or so of us parking on the roadway within the cemetery.

John Carnwright enlisted for three years in New York city, was promoted to sergeant, June 1, 1863; the same day as the author’s great great grandfather Timothy Carroll was promoted to corporal; he re-enlisted as a veteran, December 26, 1863, with Cpl. Carroll.  He was wounded in action on October 19, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Va. and he mustered out with his company on July 17, 1865.  (photo by author)

St. Johnsville is very close to Dolgeville, so it was a short drive to the Prospect View Cemetery.  Located adjacent to a local school, the medium-sized cemetery was where Private Jerome Countryman is buried.  Countryman served a year until discharged for illness and died shortly thereafter.  His gravestone is the most interesting of all we saw during this trip, but it took a while to find.  As usual, Rachel reasoned it out by looking not only at the picture of his grave on Findagrave.com, but looking at his parents’ grave picture and then studying the background.  This did the trick, and Rachel located a grave I had walked by earlier as Countryman’s.

Pvt. Jerome Countryman (photo by author)

The next trip, of less than ten minutes, was the first stop not related to a gravesite that we had visited since Niagara Falls.  For me it was the key site of the trip.  It was the Cochran Farm in Fort Plain, New York, neighborning the 1770 Palatine Church.  Site of General John Cochrane’s birth, it was a treat to visit, especially thinking about the planned biography of him I hope to write some day.  Knowing from a study of google maps and an article from the 1920s by the local historical society which I found online, I knew the land was basically adjacent to the site of the Palatine Church. This historic, lovely, and unique limestone structure was worth a visit as well.

The church was, to my surprise, open to visitors, so after taking a few pictures Rachel and I went in and enjoyed the artifacts on display there, as well as a recording of the history of the church which was automatically playing.  The church had been spared being burned down during a Revolutionary War British raid due to the loyalist status of the landowner and parish member who had donated the land for it.  Donating 50 cents myself for a postcard for my classroom, we headed out to the Cochran farm just down the road.  

Palatine Church (photo by author)

Cochran Farm (photo by author)

I was excited to be going to see Cochrane’s birthplace, and I was confident that, having tried twice to reach the farm through its website, that I could explain my research trip to the owners and be able to take a few pictures.   

We pulled up the driveway, past a house on the left, then up to the main house,  Though a cat watched us from the driveway, and cars were parked there, when we rang the bell there was no answer.  So, I took a few pictures of the site, pleased that I had found it online and physically, and Rachel and I got back in the car and headed out, having not met anyone at the Cochran Farm.  The farm was founded by Gen. John Cochrane’s grandfather, who had been a respected physician in General George Washington’s Continental Army, and the house is still impressive.

Though it had been a lot of driving, and this was our fourth day of the trip, both Rachel and I were up for just one more stop, at the Albany Rural Cemetery, in Menands just north of the city, where Lieutenant Warren Hedden is buried, as well as General Cochrane.  I had visited the cemetery twice to find Cochrane’s grave, as well as visit President Chester Arthur’s.  It was not adding too much to the trip, maybe 30-40 minutes, to make the trip.  With the start of work looming tomorrow, I was stretching the summer as long as I could.

Lieutenant Hedden’s grave was in a small section near the entrance to the large cemetery, and armed with a paper map which I picked up outside the cemetery office, I was sure given our prowess and experience we would find it quickly.   It didn’t work out that way.  Since Section Four was a narrow strip near the entrance, and we had a photo of the grave, it seemed to us given our experience the last three days, we would have a simple and quick time of it.  As it turned out the hilly and grassy area was trickier than the map showed in terms of walking, with steep sides and high grass throughout.  Having walked with Rachel across the entire section, we walked back through our steps and still found no sign of the grave. Several stones were similar to Lieutenant Hedden’s stone.  We checked the entire section and looked closely at all such graves, but came up empty.  We were baffled, but as Rachel walked the top end of the section, I walked back down along its edge, on the road, trying to figure out what we missed.   There it was, just below the edge of the small plateau on top of the hill, isolated along the road on the steep hillside.  I was glad to do my part to locate a grave, with Rachel searching the other end of the short section.  We planted our flag and took pictures. Hedden entered the regiment a private in June 1861 at the very beginning; he left in September 1864 a First Lieutenant.

Lt. Warren Hedden’s gravesite in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands (photo by author)

The author at Lt. Hedden’s gravesite (photo by Rachel Barry)

Only one stop remained.  I could not miss paying a visit and honoring General Cochrane’s grave, and not only did we have the gravesite location on Findagrave.com, but I had found it twice already most recently last year on the way to a family stay at the Bunker Hill Inn in Salem, New York, a favorite B & B which we have frequented over many summers.  That was a rainy day, unlike today, and Rachel took a picture of General Chester Arthur’s gravesite.  I had the map and a strong memory of last year’s visit, so we made it to the roadway down which General Cochrane lay.  The gate was closed, however, but it was a short walk to the grave site to leave a flag and consider how much we had accomplished in four short days.  Though three graves on this trip were re-visits, like the one we were making to Cochrane’s grave, we had managed to find and honor the graves of 28 members of the regiment.  Plus, we had seen graves of two  Presidents and one Congresswoman, with a peak on the way out today at President Chester Arthur’s grave.

General John Cochrane (photo by author)

The grave of President Chester Arthur (photo by Rachel Barry)

As we left the cemetery, and drove along the Hudson River on I-787 south towards home, we passed nearby the impressive New York State Capital building.  As always, I was reflective in this spot, thinking about the trip I had taken years ago to the New York State Archives in the early stages of my 65th New York research.  I looked then at commissary records and a speech  of General Cochrane.  I also thought about my one year residency in Albany back in 1992-1993.  It was long ago, and where I proposed to my wife,  and much had happened since.  We drove south onto the Thruway, and I told Rachel we would be home by 9 PM.  I suggested we needed some celebratory music on the way home given how well the trip had gone.  She suggested Badfinger’s Greatest Hits.  End of story.  Power pop perfection.  We had another smooth trip home.  It had been a more productive and fun trip than I had even hoped.

Published by 65th NY Guy

I am a high school history teacher in my 31st 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.

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