On Saturday, Sept. 10, a new statue for the GAR Civil War Monument in the Roslyn Cemetery will be unveiled and the monument rededicated.
The new statue, which was funded through contributions raised by Company H, 119th N.Y. Volunteers Historical Association, is a replacement for the original statue stolen from the cemetery 13 years ago.
The life-size bronze statue of a Civil War infantryman was stolen from the Roslyn Cemetery on Northern Boulevard in late May 1992, and was never recovered. 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 statue atop a 14-foot granite base was erected in 1902 to honor the local men who had fought for the Union during the Civil War by the Roslyn 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 several 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.
Company H, 119th N.Y. Volunteers Historical Association has been conducting a fund-raising drive for the last year to provide an appropriate replacement. The molds for the original statue had long since been lost. New molds based on a Civil War statue cast in 1866 for the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn were located and through the generosity of the cemetery, those molds were made available to produce the new statue for the Roslyn monument. 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. The statue was cast and installed by the Modern Art Foundry in Long Island City.
The rededication of the monument will take place at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 at the cemetery, which, as noted, is located on Northern Boulevard, a quarter mile west of Glen Cove Road. Participants will include not only military and civilian members of Company H, 119th N.Y. Volunteers Historical Association, but also members of the Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26 and Moses Baldwin Camp No. 544, of the Sons of Union Veterans.
The members of the Sons of Union Veterans post are the lineal descendents of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. In addition, members of the 10th N.Y. Volunteers Calvary, 14th Brooklyn Volunteers and 9th Virginia Infantry will be rendering honors to the members of the GAR buried in the cemetery.
Company H, 119th New York Volunteer Infantry was "reformed" in 1980 when five Long Islanders, through their love and dedication to American and Long Island history, formed the Association which is chartered 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.
For further information, contact Robert Hansen, Historian Co. H, 119th NY Volunteers Historical Association at 759-6956.