City Men on Mission tied to Civil War
By Paul Bird
The Indianapolis News
Two Indianapolis police officers will go to Washington, D.C., Jan 28 to try to change one chapter in Civil War history.
The officers want proper marking of a grave in Crown Hill Cemetery that carries only a small stone noting "1,616 unknown Confederate soldier."
A three-story monument- listing every name - is 5 1/2 miles away in Garfield Park.
"We are suggesting either moving the bodies to a larger plot purchased by the federal government and moving the monument to the same location, building a 50 percent smaller version of the existing monument and placing it on the existing plot - or simply moving the existing monument somewhere in Crown Hill," said Detective Stephen Staletovich.
Sens. Richard Lugar and Dan Coats, R- Ind., have agreed to meet with Staletovich and Officer Wayne Sharp to discuss their proposal. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., whose meeting agenda was blocked out for January and February, instructed his office to notify Staletovich and Sharp he will meet with them, too.
Urban expansion separated the dead from their grave marker.
The soldiers died while at Camp Morton, a union prison camp located near the current intersection of 22nd and Talbot streets. They were buried in the old Greenlawn Cemetery, near South and West Streets.
The federal government erected the three-story monument with six bronze plates in 1912.
Greenlawn closed in phases, and the soldiers' bodies were moved to Crown Hill between 1928 and 1933.
The monument then was moved (to) Garfield Park, to make it more visible at the request of the Southern Club of Indianapolis.
"The dignity and honor of those soldiers has been forsaken," Staletovich said. "Every Confederate soldier's name is listed on a huge monument, but it is in Garfield Park."
An accurate list of the Confederates in Crown Hill's office records (?).
Staletovich's family didn't arrive in the United States from Prizren, Serbia, until 1917. His interest is historical accuracy. Sharp's is much the same: He is (the) historian for IPD.
They have conducted the research on their own, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans group will fund their trip to Washington.
When they go, they will carry letters of support from national officers of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of Confederacy, Civil War Roundtables, Southern Club of Indianapolis, American Legion posts, church groups and private citizens.
They also have prepared a videotape presentation about the monument.
"We know that the monument was supposed to be reunited with the grave about 1928 and we know a federal law said the monument is supposed to be in the close proximity of the graves," Staletovich said of his research.
It is unknown why the bodies and the monument were not moved together, he said.
"Whatever is decided," he said, "I hope this is the last time these Americans are disturbed."