Sunday, March 2, 2014

Samuel Barber

© Kathy Duncan, 2014

Samuel Barber, son of Joseph and Arsenia Barber, was born about 1841 in either Georgia or Alabama.

He seems to have disappeared by 1870, which suggests that he was killed during the Civil War. An S.M. Barber served in the First Alabama Regiment, Company C. This S.M. Barber was captured at Island 10. He surrendered  along with 1,500 other men. While others were taken to Camp Douglass in Illinois or Camp Butler near  Springfield, Illinois, S.M. Barber was taken to Camp Randall near Madison, Wisconsin. During the three months that these men were held at Camp Randall, 139 confederates died and 110 of them were from the First Alabama. Among them was S.M. Barber. Prior to their capture on Island 10, these men had often been forced to stand knee deep in chilly river water while manning the guns of the batteries. This water was especially cold in March. After being moved to colder climates than they had been used to in southern Alabama, most of them developed pnuemonia. As the men of Camp Randall died, frequently as many as ten a day, they were buried side by side on the edge of Forest Hill Cemetery. This spot came to be known to the people of Madison, Wisconsin as "Confederate Rest." For five years after the war, they were forgotten until Mrs. Alice W. Waterman, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a recent resident of Madison learned of their burial place. According to the Wisconsin State Journal of May 29, 1885, she "heaped up neat mounds over each grave, planted trees in the plat and an evergreen hedge along the east and south sides, cleared away the weeds, trimmed the grass, and had a rude board fence, which has since been removed, constructed around the plat. Then she secured head boards, had them appropriately inscribed with the names of the Wisconsin State Journal of May 29, 1885, she "heaped up neat mounds over each grave, planted trees in the plat and an evergreen hedge along the east and south sides, cleared away the weeds, trimmed the grass, and had a rude board fence, which has since been removed, constructed around the plat. Then she secured head boards, had them appropriately inscribed with the names of the dead, their company and regiment, as well as the date of death."  She referred to them always as "my boys." Adjoining the cemetery is a Federal cemetery. For many years it was the custom on Decoration Day to hold memorial services in the open space that separated the two. Mrs. Waterman died on 13 Sept 1897. Her dream had been to erect a granite monument in Forest Hill Cemetery to commemorate the soldiers buried there. Because of her own poor finances and the poverty throughout the southern state, this dream was unrealized at her death. S.M. Barber died 22 May 1862 and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin.
[Source: History of the First Regiment, Alabama Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A. by Edward Young McMorries]

According to the online cemetery transcript of the Confederate Rest cemetery, S.M. Barber’s tombstone is inscribed “S.N. Barber” which is in conflict with the name as it appears on the regimental roster.

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