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War dead at Sackets Harbor to be individually recognized

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SACKETS HARBOR — A memorial to British and Canadian war dead planned for the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site may become more poignant and personal than originally envisioned.

A collaborative effort by the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which oversees the historic site, will erect a granite monument prior to the bicentennial commemoration of the May 29, 1813, Battle of Sackets Harbor recognizing the Crown Forces dead, about 50 of whom are buried in unmarked graves at the site.

When the monument was proposed nearly two years ago, identities of the dead were unknown. Now, through the assistance of researchers from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, the names, ranks and units of 47 dead soldiers have been recovered and these soldiers will be honored with individual granite markers in addition to the larger monument.

Theodore L. Schofield, vice president of the alliance’s board of trustees, said that after the names became known, an alliance member brought up the idea of recognizing each of the soldiers individually and the concept grew from there.

“History can be so mundane, just facts and figures, but I think it helps you personalize it when you can place a name with it,” Mr. Schofield said. “This way, it’s not just facts and figures, it’s people.”

The alliance has raised the $6,000 to $8,000 needed for the main monument, which will be inscribed, “To the soldiers of the Crown lost in the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor May 29, 1813, whose remains rest in an unknown grave on this battleground. Dedicated on the 200th Anniversary of the Battle.”

The alliance, however, does not have the funding for the individual markers for soldiers who fought with units such as the 1st Royal Scots, Royal Newfoundland Fencibles, Nova Scotia Fencibles, Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles and Voltigeurs Canadiens. The alliance is raising funds for the markers, which will cost about $200 each and will surround the main monument.

“Unless there’s a huge influx of money from somewhere, these will probably be placed as they’re funded,” Mr. Schofield said. “It’s not expected that they’ll all be in place in time for the ceremony, but there will be some.”

The monument will be dedicated Aug. 3 during the alliance’s War of 1812 Weekend, which is expected to draw about 300 re-enactors. It will be located off Ontario Street, near the village’s new walking trail dedicated to the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Mr. Schofield said that the idea of a monument has drawn a great deal of interest from Canadians and that Canadian and American dignitaries will be invited to the dedication ceremony.

“We’re expecting a significantly larger group of people than we had at the groundbreaking, and we had a good amount at that,” he said.

The alliance is looking for sponsors for the individual engraved markers. Anyone interested in sponsoring a marker may send a $200 check to the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance Inc., Box 27, Sackets Harbor, N.Y., 13685, or contact battlefield site manager Constance B. Barone at 646-3634 or by email at Constance.Barone@parks.ny.gov.

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