remembering our fallen heroes

American flag

Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
~Will Carleton

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer. Most of us plan some sort of festivities during the three-day weekend, perhaps a barbecue or a day at the beach, with friends and family. It is very fitting that at some point during the day, we stop and reflect on the day’s true meaning. Let’s stop for a moment to commemorate those soldiers who gave their lives so we can live ours freely.

While we now observe Memorial Day to commemorate all American soldiers who died while in military service, it started as a way for families to honor fallen Civil War soldiers.  The holiday was originally called Decoration Day because families decorated graves of fallen soldiers with bouquets and wreaths.  It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In keeping with the origins of Memorial Day, let me tell you about two men – Emmanuel Mayne and his son, LeRoy Mayne, both of whom were killed in the War of Rebellion, the Northern forces’ term for the Civil War.

Emmanuel Mayne was born in Frederick, Maryland.  He received a good education and became a teacher and a businessman.  He moved his family to Van Buren County, Iowa in 1848.  He was one of the founders and a prominent resident of South Vienna, Iowa.  In 1851, he was elected as county judge and remained in that capacity until 1857.   Then, at fifty-seven years of age, Emmanuel Mayne raised a company of volunteers and was elected Captain of Company G, Third Iowa Calvary in the War of Rebellion. He was killed by the rebels in the Battle of Kirksville, Missouri on August 6, 1862.  He is buried in his hometown of Keosauqua, Iowa.

His son, Leroy, was a member of the Second Volunteer infantry and later was transferred to the Third Iowa Cavalry, under his father’s command.  In January 1863, he was transferred to the Mississippi Marine Brigade, with the rank of First Lieutenant.  In April of the same year, while in command of a flotilla that was passing up the river, the boat he was aboard ran into an obstruction. While he was assisting to free the boat, he was thrown into the river and was drowned. His body was never found, or if found, was never identified.

Emmanuel Mayne was my husband, Chris’, third great grandfather and Leroy Mayne was his second great grand uncle.

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3 thoughts on “remembering our fallen heroes

  1. Daisy, your interest in the genealogy and history of our family is such a gift to all of us. I didn’t know these stories. You are the best! Auntie R.

    • On the night of 8 April 1863, 1st Lt Lee Roy Mayne was aboard the BALTIC one of seven steamers in the Mississippi Marine Brigade. The Baltic was moored at Island 26, on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River with a coal barge moored to the outside during a recoaling operation. The steamer JOHN RAINE of the MMB had just arrived from St Louis and pulled along the outside of the same coal barge to recoal as well while 1st Lt. Thompson W. McCune (Infantry) serving as Asst Adjutant of the Brigade was bringing 200 or more enrollment papers to Lt. Mayne, the Adjutant of the Cavalry Btn It was about 8:30 in the evening and Lt. Mayne and another friend, 2nd Lt. Sloan, were playing a card game on the BALTIC as they often did, euchre, similar to bridge when McCune arrived. Sloan and Mayne started over to board the John Raine, Sloan leading the way with a lantern and Mayne following. Lt. McCune was coming from the RAINE at the same time and at that moment both Mayne and McCune went over into the turbulent water. A search was started but not successful at locatding either office.. Sloan thought Mayne had hit his head on the large wheels (a Sidewheeler versus a rear wheeler when he fell. McCunes body was recovered and buried temporarlily on Island 35 then relocted to the nearby Memphis National Cemetery, Section H, site 13834. Several “UNKNOWNS” were brought in with Lt. McCune and very likely Lt. Mayne could be among those. Mayne was carrying a large sum of money as well as an expensive gold watch–most likely recovered by whom ever was doing recoveries as drowning was a common occurrence. McCune was a native of Henry County Indiana and a “chum” in their terms of Sloan and Mayne.

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