Unmarked Union soldier graves in Macomb County receive new headstones

New Baltimore Historical Society discovered identities of veterans buried in area

The Union soldiers died in the 1920s and until now their graves remained unmarked.
The Union soldiers died in the 1920s and until now their graves remained unmarked.

DETROIT – The Union soldiers died in the 1920s and, until now, their graves remained unmarked.

On Saturday, the veterans got a tribute decades in the making. Gone but never forgotten.

Through meticulous research the New Baltimore Historical Society discovered the identities of the veterans buried here.

“I have the utmost respect for all veterans and anyone serving in the military so when I noticed them being unmarked I had to get the headstones no matter what,” said Amy Shirkey-Withrow, with the New Baltimore Historical Society.

Corporal Nelson L. Carpenter was from Detroit and just 18 years old when he enlisted.

Private David Blay was from Pontiac and 27 years old when he joined the Union Army.

Corporal Robert H. Morton was from Romeo and 27 years old when wounded in action.

“I think it makes it personal. We now know their name, when they were born, a census of where they lived,” said Don Forden, retired colonel.

Suzanne Vitale of the New Baltimore Historical Society also spoke with Local 4 News.

“This is so special giving these men the respect they should have gotten a long time ago,” said Vitale.

Veterans say discovering the identities of these Union soldiers is deeply personal.

“We were forgotten when we came home from Vietnam. It’s never going to happen in my lifetime,” said Michael ‘Sarge’ Parr, a Vietnam veteran.

It took five months of pouring over historical documents and census records before the US Department of Veteran Affairs approved the discovery.

“It was emotional now they won’t be forgotten,” said Shirkey-Withrow.

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About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.