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Montana man restores headstones of Civil War veterans

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Posted at 11:25 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 13:25:59-05

BUTTE — The old cemetery in Virginia City is a cold, wind-swept place.

It’s also a place where many headstones of Civil War veterans have nearly been swept away by the weather and the wind, but some local veterans made an effort to preserve these veterans’ final resting place.

“I grew up for a short time in Pennsylvania five miles east of Gettysburg, so that’s where my interest in the Civil War started many years ago. And to see these Civil War stones—it just didn’t sit right with me,” said Bob Reimard.

It was in 2019 when Reimard, a US Air Force veteran and member of the Sheridan American Legion Post 89, noticed several headstones of Civil War veterans at the Virginia City Cemetery weathering away.

“They sunk into the ground a little bit, the writing is difficult to see,” said Reimard.

He and his wife searched county records and history books and discovered the names of 18 Civil War veterans and some Spanish/American war veterans buried in Virginia City.

The original headstones were dug up and put in a cement foundation along with new brick engraved with the full name of the veteran.

He also put up a memorial wall with the names of two dozen Civil War veterans buried in unmarked graves at the Sheridan Cemetery.

The original marker was so old that the names were nearly worn away.

“These are veterans, 150 years ago, but still these are our veterans. We felt they deserved the respect that we would give a veteran today,” he said.

One of the headstones was so worn away, you can barely read the last name of "Todd" and it didn’t have an initial for the first name.

So that’s where Bob had to do some research and was able to figure out this was veteran Lockwood Todd.

“Headstones are transitory and all like that, but we’ve saved names and now they’re out there. It’s not going to last forever, but, you know, they’re staying, it’s not going to vanish on our watch,” said Sheridan American Legion Post Commander Cliff Morgan.

So, old soldiers won’t fade away.