Civil War veteran Pvt. Daniel Pine is re-buried during authentic ceremony
Sunday, May 13, 2001
Article / Steven Hepker
Photos / Molly Hauxwell
Pvt. Daniel W. Pine was buried Saturday afternoon, this time with fanfare and full military ceremonies.
"This is an American warrior being laid to rest with the honor and dignity he deserves," Edward Kreiser, national commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, said in the unusual re-interment at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
About 250 people _ many in period costumes or uniforms _ witnessed or participated in the authentic Grand Army of the Republic funeral. The burial ritual was adopted in 1873 and was used through the early 20th century as Civil War veterans faded away.
Participants stuck close to the original rite, stressing this was not a Civil War re-enactment like those most Jacksonians are used to, but an actual burial of a soldier who fought to save the Union.
"If you saw where Private Pine was buried 112 years ago, you know why we have to be here today," said William Lowe, grave registration officer for the Austin Blair Camp No. 7 in Jackson. "No veteran of our country should ever be in such an isolated position."
His group has visited 100 cemeteries in Jackson County and has confirmed the graves of more than 1,400 Civil War soldiers. Judy Gross found Pine's grave two years ago in an overgrown, long-abandoned section of the cemetery off Elm Street.
She said the funeral was a reminder of forgotten veterans from all wars.
"Private Pine stands in for them today," Gross said.
With help from veterans groups, the J.L. Watson Funeral Home, Hillcrest and individual and corporate donors, planning evolved into an event complete with a horse-drawn hearse, Union re-enactors, a musket salute and funeral dirge on drums.
Pine's remains recently were placed in a simple wooden coffin, similar to the one he was buried in on April 9, 1889, a day after he died in a friend's home on Cooper Street. He died without money or family.
Pine received a pauper's funeral, the $40 expense covered by the county. His coffin, however, had brass handles and a glass viewing window _ features ordinarily reserved for the well-to-do.
Undertakers started embalming bodies in the Civil War, but because of long train or wagon trips, the viewing windows spared mourners the stench of an open casket.
Lowe speculated that because Pine had worked for the Jackson Furniture Co., which made caskets, his former employer gave the county a deal on a high-end model. County records show it cost $25. Costs for handling of the body, the hearse and grave were $5 each.
Pine was a farmer in Onondaga County, N.Y., when the Civil War started in 1861. He volunteered for duty on Aug. 12, 1862, at the age of 36. He served with the 122nd New York Infantry, and his regiment fought in most of the major battles in the East.
He was shot in the face and throat at Cedar Creek in 1864, and was wounded in the foot at Petersburg in 1865. After mustering out he went to work on the Erie Canal. No one knows why, but he moved to Jackson in 1875. He never married.
Like many adult males in his day, Pine could not read or write. He worked as an unskilled laborer and lived in boarding houses around the fairgrounds and old prison.
With the help of an attorney, he applied for a veteran's pension late in life, but never got it. He moved into the Michigan Soldiers' Home in Grand Rapids in 1887, and died on furlough of Bright's disease in Jackson two years later.
"As we lay our comrade down to rest, let us cherish his virtues," Chaplain Todd Holton prayed. "Taps are sounded, the lights are out, the soldier sleeps."
Mourners laid a wreath of evergreens, a rose, a laurel leaf and a flag on the casket before it was lowered by ropes. Then, each scooped a handful of New York soil from a bucket and tossed it in the grave.
His new resting place is in the "Field of Honor" on a knoll near the front of the cemetery.
"We are pretty certain this was his first funeral," Lowe said.
_ Reach reporter Steven Hepker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 768-4923.