Col. Wheeler memorialized on Gettysburg anniversary
By Kitty Conley email@example.com July 9, 2013 12:32PM
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky speaks at dedication of additional grave marker for Col. John Wheeler on the 150th anniversary of his death. | Kitty Conley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 9, 2013 12:42PM
CROWN POINT — On the 150th anniversary of his death, July 2, 2013, a new granite marker was placed in front of the tombstone marking Col. John Wheeler’s final resting place in Historic Maplewood Cemetery.
Col. Wheeler died leading his men in holding the line in the middle of the battle on Wheatfield at Gettysburg, Penn. Gettysburg is called the bloodiest battle of America’s bloodiest war. All of the people that died, no matter if they wore blue or gray, were Americans.
Before placing the new granite marker in place two young boys, Nolan and Connor Chase, read President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In an era of political speeches that lasted hour after hour President Lincoln surprised everyone with his brief speech that dedicated the cemetery for those who had died in the rolling fields at Gettysburg.
Right before Lincoln’s speech, former Senator Edward Everett of Massachusetts gave a two-hour speech. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Addresses lasted just over two minutes.
Congressman Pete Visclosky, D-1st, was nowhere near as long as the first and not quite as brief as Lincoln. The Indiana representative reminded everyone that Wheeler and all the others that died, did so to leave our country in a better place for future generations, “just like the Afghanistan veteran that has lost both his arms and legs who just testified in Congress.”
They all gave of themselves for this country’s future.
The day of honoring the Union’s Col. John Wheeler of the Grand Army of the Republic Company B, of the 20th Indiana Infantry, was cool and had a light rain. The Rev. Joseph Vamos led those in attendance in a prayer of dedication of this addition to Col. Wheeler’s grave site.
Charlie Wheeler, the great-great grandson of Col. Wheeler, was there for this dedication as was Phil Caines, the great nephew of Sgt. Edwin Sprague, 20th Indiana Infantry, who is also at rest in Maplewood Cemetery, along with 80 men who fought and died in that war among the states.
Melinie Caines, Auxiliary of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, placed flowers on top of Col. Wheeler’s headstone. Melinie was dressed in Victorian mourning clothing, the same type of clothing that would have been worn in 1863.
Michael Miller, from the Lake County Sheriff’s Police, is a member of the local Civil War re-enactors. He was dressed as Col. John Wheeler.
Phil Caines was dressed as his great uncle.
Miller and the rest of the reenactors left for Gettysburg, Penn. on July 2, after the dedication. They went to partake in the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Miller said, “We portray Company B and all the Lake County men who volunteered to pick up a rifle.”
The reenactment was from July 4 through 7. There were 150,000 re-enactors signed up for the memorial and they are expected over 4 million people coming to watch. According to Miller, once again they would fly the regiment colors on Wheatfield. The last time these colors were there was 150 years ago.
Words of Remembrance on the program for the day: “I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death – of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Civil War veteran, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and writer.
Maplewood Cemetery is located immediately north of Solon Robinson Elementary School at the corner of Wells Street and Pettibone Avenue, with an entrance off of Wells Street.