Company H, 119th New York Volunteers Historical Association has announced the commencement of a campaign to replace the Civil War statue stolen from the Roslyn Cemetery.
In 1992 a bronze statue representing a Civil War infantryman was stolen from the Roslyn Cemetery on Old Northern Boulevard in Roslyn. The statue to honor the local men who had fought for the Union during the conflict had been originally erected in 1902 atop a 14-foot granite base by the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Civil War veterans. Located in the Roslyn Cemetery GAR plot which contains the remains of a number of local Civil War veterans, the statue was the center of Memorial Day remembrances for years after its dedication, even after the death of the last of the local GAR members.
The 1902 GAR statue at the Roslyn Cemetery.
The statue disappeared shortly after Memorial Day in 1992. Nassau County police at the time theorized that the theft was the work of professionals with ties to dealers in folk art or Civil War memorabilia.
The molds for the original statue have long since been lost. New molds based on a Civil War statue cast in 1866 for the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn have been located and will be used to replicate the original statue. The Green-Wood statue closely resembles the Roslyn statue and is symbolic of many other statues cast after the war to honor those who served the Union during the rebellion.
The estimated cost of the replacement statue is between $18,000 and $20,000, the amount the 119th is hoping to raise in time to install the replacement statue during the 140th anniversary of the end of the war. Half of the cost has already been pledged in the form of a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Gerry Charitable Trust.
Company H., 119th New York Volunteers Historical Association was "reformed" in 1980 when five Long Islanders, through their love and dedication to American and Long Island history, formed the Association which is incorporated under the New York State Educational Law. The original Company H was formed in August of 1862 and made up of residents of the Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead, which was then in Queens County, and led by a prominent local attorney, Benjamin Willis.
The Association exists to preserve and promote American and Long Island 19th century history, and is dedicated to the spirit and memory of those men from the Hempstead Plains, who fought to preserve the country they believed in. Members of the Association annually participate in local school programs, parades, 19th century living history presentations, military re-enactments, as well as television documentaries and feature-length movies.