FRONT ROYAL – A small but loyal crowd met Thursday evening at Prospect Hill Cemetery to remember Confederate soldiers from Warren County who fought during the Civil War.
The annual ceremony is led by the Warren Rifles Chapter No. 934 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on a hill in the cemetery known as Soldiers Circle, where 90 Civil War soldiers are buried in marked graves in a circle around a monument for 185 unknown soldiers.
“We honor the soldiers every year,” said Frances Woodward, who works at the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum at 95 Chester St. and helped lead the ceremony on Thursday. “It’s an honor for us; it really is.”
Each year the ceremony pays tribute to the soldiers, and this year’s ceremony recalled for the first time seven soldiers from artillery units. Warren didn’t have an artillery unit, said Suzanne Silek, treasurer of the Warren Rifles Chapter and president of the museum, so the seven fought in other units:
John William Ramey, of the Dixey Battery.
James Lane Allen, of Chew’s Virginia Battery.
William Jackson Mann, of the Richmond Howitzers.
John Asbury Morrison, of Pegram’s Battery.
Richard Mauzy Blakemore, of Morton’s Battery and Forrest Cavalry Corps.
Lt. Col. Gabriel Holmes Hill, chief of artillery with the Trans-Mississippi Department, CSA.
Capt. Samuel T. Ruffner, of the 1st Battery of the Missouri Field Artillery.
Bruce Colton and Dwayne Mauck from the Colonel John S. Mosby Camp No. 1237 of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans presented colors during the ceremony, and Mauck, former camp chaplain and former camp commander, offered a benediction before the close of the ceremony.
The yearly ceremony originally began under the Warren Memorial Society, Silek said.
She asked those in attendance to recall the soldiers who demonstrated their values through acts of strength and courage.
Afterward, Silek and some attendees laid carnations donated by Donahoe’s Whimsical Flowers of Front Royal on the graves in Soldiers Circle.
Woodward said she attends the ceremony each year to honor soldiers from the county, including some of her ancestors – the Johnsons and the Maddoxes.
“These gentlemen fought hard for our country,” she said.
“It’s very important to keep them alive. We never want to forget them.”