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Legendary Civil War soldier’s tomb rededicated in Valparaiso

Steve Batey Hammond portraying Private John M. Meyer (left foreground) Charles Minard Crown Point portraying Private Charles Fry (foreground right)

Steve Batey of Hammond, portraying Private John M. Meyer, (left foreground) and Charles Minard of Crown Point, portraying Private Charles Fry, (foreground right) join other reenactors of Company B 20th Indiana Infantry as they prepare for a toast during a ceremony to honor Civil War veteran Col. Isaac Suman at Maplewood Cemetery in Valparaiso, Ind. Monday December 31, 2012. The ceremony marked the 150th anniversary of the wounds Suman suffered at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Also pictured are Carl Stahl of Hobart, portraying a 1st Sgt., (far left, rear) Bruce Markle of Crown Point portraying Private Oliver P. Rood, (second from right) and Bill Schmidtke of Thornton, Ill. portraying a private. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 2, 2013 6:19AM



VALPARAISO — A cannon twice saluted the memory of Col. Isaac C. B. Suman, 150 years after he was twice wounded as real cannons thundered in the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee.

A Civil War-costumed honor guard fired rifles into the air at Maplewood Cemetery to honor the former mayor of Valparaiso, part of a ceremony with the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail and other Civil War and historical groups.

A new monument went under the headstone shared by Suman, 1831-1911; Kate Goss Suman, 1838-1908; and Frank T. Suman, 1873-1906, this one mentioning the soldier having been wounded in battle.

Suman was part of the 9th Indiana Infantry, known as “The Bloody 9th” because it had been on the front lines of major battles.

Army Chaplain John Whitehead of Westville — a Medal of Honor recipient — wrote an account about getting Suman off the field after he had been shot in the rib cage and arm with an artery in his arm having been severed. Though Suman’s boots had filled with blood, Whitehead wrote that Suman went back into battle only to be shot again.

Kevin Matthew Pazour, executive director of the Porter County Museum, said that Suman started farming along Old Suman Road in Jackson Township in 1865.

He was postmaster from 1881-1885 and mayor of Valparaiso from 1894-1898.

From a newspaper obituary, Pazour read how Suman endeared himself through his generosity and “bright, sunshiny nature (that) spread happiness.”

The obituary noted Suman was “courageous and indomitable” and “a relentless foe” whose soldiers “followed him unquestioning.”

Pazour said, “Everything I’ve read about this man is absolutely incredible, and the fact that he was so humble and beloved, it’s an honor to be here.”

Brent Rosenbaum, of Valparaiso, was driving nearby when he heard a radio report mentioning the ceremony was taking place, and he decided to attend.

Rosenbaum enjoyed seeing the people at the ceremony dressed in period costumes and hearing the history of a notable Porter County pioneer.

“There are more people than I thought there would be, but it’s sad — there should’ve been more,” he said.



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