Civil War group looking for soldier#039;s local descendants

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

GALLIPOLIS - James Oiler is not looking for a few good men, but he would like to find their descendants.

Oiler, commander of the Sons of Union Civil War Veterans Cadot-Blessing Camp No. 126 in Gallipolis, would like to find the men and women whose ancestors served in the Civil War that would like to join the historical preservation organization that honors all who have patriotically served the country.

"This is the ultimate honor to pay your ancestor for their service during the Civil War, which was a terrible time in our history," the 59-year-old retired teacher said. "A lot of people don't realize how close we came to losing that war and that would have made us two separate countries."

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"We are trying to connect today's people with their past," said Oiler, whose great-great-grandfathers were part of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. "We feel strongly that it is important to know where you came from."

The group that is one of 200 across the country participates in the proper observance of Memorial Day, seeks out and marks the graves of Civil War veterans, observes the care and upkeep of memorials and brings any failure to do so to the attention of the proper authorities.

Lawrence County is one of the only Ohio River counties that does not have a chapter, something that Oiler would eventually like to correct.

"Lots of Civil War soldiers are from Lawrence County. There is a section in Woodland Cemetery that is all Civil War soldiers," he said. "So there has to be descendants. I would really like to see a camp started there."

Membership is open to male descendants - sons, grandson, great grandsons, nephews, grand nephews, etc. - of soldiers, sailors or marines who received an honorable discharge or died in the service of the Union Army or Navy. Applicants must be at least 14 years old.

Someone does not need to be a Civil War reenactor to join, Oiler

"A lot of people think you have to carry a rifle to be in the SUV but that is not the case at all," Oiler said. "We are a historical preservation type organization."

A Daughters of Union Civil War Veterans group is forming in Gallipolis that would welcome female descendants of Union Civil War Soldiers. Anyone interested, contact Cheryl Enyart (740) 446-9465

Anyone interested in joining the SUV camp, contact Oiler at (740) 245-0134 or senior vice commander Roger Caldwell (740) 446-3814.