Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Three Brother’s Monument – Harmony in life, unity in death

My first blog of the New Year (2015) was guest-written by my good friend, Sam Ricks. Sam is the Graves Registrar for the Pennsylvania Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (Lt. General John C. Pemberton Camp #2060, Philadelphia, PA) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. (Philadelphia). The photos you see here are Sam's. His article immediately follows the last blog I posted on The Cemetery Traveler in 2014, about General George Meade, Commander of the Union forces at the Battle of Gettysburg. I now turn this interesting story over to Sam ...

In late October, I received a tip about two Confederate graves in Philadelphia from Donna Ozenne, of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Bakersfield, California chapter (herself a Philadelphia native).  The graves of the three Ingraham brothers, all born in Philadelphia County’s Byberry Township, were post-Civil War re-interments. All were nephews of Union Major General George Gordon Meade, Philadelphia’s most famous Civil War general. 

Two of the brothers, Frank and Edward, were Confederate soldiers killed in action on Southern battlefields.  The third brother, Thomas, died of yellow fever before the war in Tensas County, Louisiana.

At first glance, their monument [shown here] in the family plot at All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery, 9601 Frankford Avenue [Philadelphia], appeared to be a cenotaph – a family memorial to brothers buried years before in Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  As a consequence, Philadelphia’s “Civil War history community” took no notice of this “Confederate” monument as the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, now entering its final year, was commemorated.  That is, until I found their burial card online.

Ingraham burial card

The Three Brothers Monument, featuring three dark, broken, Roman columns bound together by a rusted metal belt, a symbol of young lives cut short, is not a cenotaph, but an actual grave.  They are buried in the Ingraham plot, range 12, grave 2. 

Private Francis “Frank” Ingraham, of I Company, 21st Regiment, Mississippi Infantry, CSA, born in 1829, was killed in action at the Battle of Marye’s Heights (Fredericksburg, VA), during the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863. His brother, Major Edward Ingraham, A Company, 1st Regiment, Confederate States Regular Cavalry, CSA, born in 1830, died May 10, 1862 in Corinth, MS, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Farmington, TN.

Author Tom Huntington’s blog, Searching For Meade, recounts the story of the three brother’s post war burial at All Saints.  An “angry mob” threatened to disrupt their re-interment, but was prevented from doing so by a group of local Quakers who stood guard over their graves.

This All Saints episode undermines a long held belief of local historians: that the Meade family and others, had angrily protested the burial of another Philadelphia Confederate, Lt. General John C. Pemberton, at Laurel Hill Cemetery in 1881.  Obviously, the originator of this urban legend got the facts confused with the earlier attempt to thwart the burial of Meade’s Confederate nephews in Philadelphia.

There is something more profound at work here.  Most Civil War readers dismiss the “brother versus brother” story as quaint rhetoric, as rusted as the belt binding the three broken columns of this monument together. But it was reality for many families.  And the evidence can be found in Philadelphia’s cemeteries. The biggest fear of these soldiers was someday finding themselves on opposite sides of the same battlefield.