A Union Soldier’s Tree Stump Monument

JACOB S. McCANN

BORN NOV. 26, 1831.

DIED SEPT. 8, 1893.

MEMBER OF CO H. 196 OHIO VOL.

A friend to his country, and a believer in Christ.

No other war was like the American Civil War for Americans because every sailor or soldier, every collateral death, every field or railway yard that was destroyed, every city or town devastated by artillery was American.  And, more Americans were killed in the Civil War than any other war that in which Americans have fought.

The total American deaths by war: Civil War 625,000; World War II 405,399; World War I 116,516; Vietnam 58,151; Korean War 36,516; Revolutionary War 25,000; War of 1812  20,000; Mexican American War 13,283; War on Terror 6,280; and the Spanish American War 4,196.

During the Civil War Americans were fighting against Americans—brother against brother—cousin against cousin. The war tore the country apart and threatened the existence of the Republic.

Cemeteries throughout the United States pay tribute to the soldiers that fought to preserve the Union, often with special sections where soldiers are buried.  War memorials were erected across America in town squares and cemeteries.  But this monument is dedicated to an individual—Jacob S. McCann who fought in the 196th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  The 196th Ohio Infantry was organized at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, and served for a year, mustering out March 25th, 1865.

The monument for Jacob McCann in the city cemetery of Plainville, Indiana, is an indication that his service in the Union Army was a seminal event in his life.  The tree-stump gravestone marks that service with the accouterments of a soldier which are carved into the limestone—the greatcoat hanging from an upper branch, the tin canteen and cartridge box draped over one of the lower branches—the leather straps still in place and the belt displaying his US Army issue buckle, though weathered and barely visible.  Leaning against the stump is the Springfield rifle.  On the back of the gravestone is his bed roll and haversack.

This monument is carved in limestone and is another example of the rustic style tree stump gravestone that was popular in the late 19th Century and is a tribute to the soldier buried beneath with the simple epitaph, “A friend to his country, and a believer in Christ.”

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4 Responses to A Union Soldier’s Tree Stump Monument

  1. Brian Black says:

    Does anyone know if the War Department had any funding for veterans’ grave markers? This seem expensive and I wonder if he paid for it himself. It is magnificent. Image how long it took to carve.

    On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 5:27 PM Gravely Speaking wrote:

    > gravelyspeaking posted: ” JACOB S. McCANN BORN NOV. 26, 1831. DIED SEPT. > 8, 1893. MEMBER OF CO H. 196 OHIO VOL. A friend to his country, and a > believer in Christ. No other war was like the American Civil War for > Americans because every sailor or soldier, every collateral de” >

    • The Veteran’s Administration does issue gravestones for American soldiers who served. However, the designs are limited to the standard segmented top white marble “government issue” tablet measuring 13 inches wide, four inches thick and 42 inches tall–with 24 inches of the tablet to remain above ground. These are like the ones you would see in Arlington National Cemetery lined up in rows. Much later the government started issuing flat bronze markers. The tree stump design for Jacob McCann would not have been issued by the War Department. I am reasonably sure that the family commissioned a carver in Indiana to create that one-of-a-kind monument.

  2. gsb03632 says:

    This is amazing! Thanks for posting it. Do you know the Lloyd plot in Hollywood (Richmond)? It carries through the rustic style with remarkable persistance ….

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