Civil War veteran Pvt.
Daniel Pine is re-buried
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
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
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
"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
_ Reach reporter Steven Hepker at email@example.com
Sunday, May 13, 2001