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Faribault County Works to Remember Civil War Vets

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Nearly a century and a half has passed since the Civil War. Now a group in Faribault County is working to make sure the lives of those who fought in the war are not forgotten.

The story of Civil War Veteran James Mead was almost buried with him in Blue Earth's Riverside cemetery.

Local historian A.B. Russ says, "He fought in the various campaigns in TN and MI and then he was eventually captured by the confederates and put into Andersonville prison. He was released that first week in April in 1865 came back here and worked for his father."

When he was laid to rest in 1916, Mead was never given a marker.

Russ says, "The guy was just a Joe Shmoe he wasn't a bigwig or made a bunch of money."

But some in the community thought Mead's story was worth saving.

And in 2011, almost 100 years after he was buried, Mead's grave was properly marked.

Russ says, "These people are being forgot, they are shuffled to the background, they served there county and they deserved to be remembered for that."

Russ is talking about Mead and the rest his Union comrades,

Russ says, "See that sucker I can't read it at all."

While the others have headstones, most are no longer legible.

"This guy looked like he was a lieutenant," Russ says while trying to read a marker.

Faribault County Veteran Service Officer David Hanson says, "The stones have been deteriorating, there has been problems with them we found that are broken or hard to read."

Hanson says now the goal is to replace every ravaged Civil War vet headstone in the county, something that won't be an easy task,

Hanson says, "We have 416 veterans that need potential replacement markers."

The VA will replace those stones at no cost.

Hanson says, "But part of it is setting them, that is going to be the expense."

Not to mention the daunting amount of paperwork and research needed to apply for each soldier's new stone. Preserving this history will not be easy, but those involved say these veterans fought the harder battle.

Hanson says, "We want to honor their fight for our country. We don't want them to be forgotten"

Hanson hopes the community will be generous with donations to help set the markers...and that schools, as class projects, might be able to help with the process.

Anyone interested in helping can contact their local veterans services office.