Two Union veterans unveiled the Confederates Rest cenotaph

David Muskat over at Historic Madison has uncovered the newspaper story advancing the June 15, 1906 unveiling of the cenotaph (or monument) at Confederate Rest.

You will note that two Union veterans unveiled the cenotaph, Captain Hugh Lewis (whom we know lost an arm in the Civil War) and Captain Frank W. Oakley. The guardian angel of Confederates Rest, Alice Whiting Waterman, lived with the Oakley family at 524 N. Carroll Street until her death in 1897. Both veterans lobbied their former adversaries for funds to place a lasting memorial to Mrs. Waterman and “her boys” (as she called them), the 140 Confederate prisoners of war who perished at Madison’s Camp Randall after their capture in 1862.

Oakley served as national adjutant general of the Grand Army of the Republic under national commander Lucius Fairchild, a general in Wisconsin’s famed Iron Brigade, governor of Wisconsin, and minister to Spain.

Mr. Muskat credits Madison historian Ann Waidelich for unearthing this story in the “Custer Cards” in the Archives Dept. at the Wisconsin Historical Society — he being the late Frank Custer, Madison journalist and historian, who your Squire once worked with.

Mr. Muskat comments, “As you read this, try to put yourself in that time, and just imagine what a community event this was.” Lewis was age 70 in 1906 and Oakley about the same age, both in full command of their faculties, never to forget their experience in America’s most deadly war.

From the Wednesday June 13, 1906 Wisconsin State Journal:

Program for 1906 unveilingTO REMEMBER SONS OF DIXIE

Monument to Be Unveiled at Confederate Rest.


Pathetic Story of Exiles From Southland — Died at Camp Randall While Prisoners of War.

Madison is to witness a ceremony of unusual interest Friday.

A Monument to the confederate dead buried at Forest Hill is to be unveiled and the exercises will be carried out under the direction of men once arrayed in deadly conflict against them. Lucius Fairchild post, G.A.R., will have charge and the exercises will be held at 6:30, this hour being selected that the public may have opportunity to attend. All ex-soldiers, members of the Relief Corps and Sons of Veterans are requested to meet at the entrance to the cemetery at 6 p. m. where a procession will be formed and a march made to Confederate Rest, led by the post drum corps.

The Program.

The following program will be observed.

Song. (by request of the Daughters of the Confederacy) — “How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the Lord” — led by Mrs. E. C. DeMoe.

Prayer by chaplain of the post.


Reading of letters from the governor of Alabama and the Society of Daughters of the Confederacy and address by [G.A.R.] Commander McKay.

Unveiling of monument by Major Hugh Lewis and Major F. W. Oakley.

Solo. “The Blue and the Gray” (original) by Comrade M. J. Rawson.

Singing — “America.”

Taps by bugler.

Should the day be stormy the exercises will take place at the same hour in the same order on Saturday June 16.

Intended For All.

The Monument to be unveiled will bear the names of all the dead it is intended to commemorate. It was prepared by Abbott of Madison, and cost $450. The funds were raised by the Daughters of the Confederacy who will erect monuments at other places in the north where southern dead are buried.

The lyrics to the “How firm a foundation” song appear to contain NO subliminal dog whistles to Klansmen, but the Blaska Policy Werkes never under-estimates the finely attuned grievance antennae of Madison’s social justice warriors.

For extra credit:How the Late Col. Hugh Lewis recovered arm lost at Bull Run and brought it to Madison for burial.”

Tell Mayor Soglin to veto the Common Council’s action Tuesday (04-10-18) to remove the monument erected in 1906 to selfless Madison volunteer Alice Whiting Waterman and “her boys.” As city Landmarks Commissioner Stu Levitan noted, “We found that the structure does not extol the Confederacy or Secession, but functions as a grave marker.”

‘A suitable monument, whereby their names may be preserved’

F.W. Oakley and Hugh Lewis, a member of the Committee on Military Affairs in the House of Representatives, were often in correspondence about what should be done for these lost soldiers. 

In conversation with Captain Hugh Lewis, an old comrade of mine, and a friend of Mrs. Waterman (at present door-keeper in the House of Representatives at Washington) we thought it advisable to bring the matter to the attention of some prominent Confederates in Washington, to ascertain if some provisions could not be made by the different states to which these soldiers belonged, for the erection of a suitable monument to these Confederate dead, whereby their names and services may be preserved.

paper by Jesse Beckett, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Dept of History, 2015

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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1 Response to Two Union veterans unveiled the Confederates Rest cenotaph

  1. Pingback: Confederate Rest stone is ‘too big’ for Stu Levitan; it’s got to go | Stately Blaska Manor

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