Last month marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War (click here to find out how our region was involved). In true Valley fashion, there lies a commemorative cannon — complete with real cannonballs — to honor the local soldiers who fought among the ranks of the 150th New York Infantry. Richard Baker of Mount Tremper quickly identified the memorial in question, which is located in a Rhinebeck cemetery. (Other readers, however, have spotted similar cannons at West Point and in towns all around the Valley, including Ellenville and Beacon. Do you know anything about these? Share your thoughts below.) This month’s subject may be easier to pinpoint: It stands more than 1,000 feet above the Hudson River.
Isn’t this just south of the Astor Home [in Rhinebeck]? It is on the sweeping turn, just after the iron gates to the cemetery, on the right side of the road. We saw the other monument to the 150th New York on Culp’s Hill at the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield when we visited there last summer.
The Civil War cannon is from West Point. I can thank my uncle Steve for the history tour of West Point.
Dear Justin: Please don’t take any more tours with Uncle Steve (unless he’s reading from Hudson Valley, of course)!
Just a comment on Greg Ryan’s “I Love New York (I Think)” (Final Word, Mar.). Having been born and raised in Albany County, I can only agree with everything that he said about living near the Big Apple. Nice read!
In your article about the Hudson Valley and the Civil War (“Fighting for a More Perfect Union,” Apr.), you neglected to mention a native of our region, Sojourner Truth. Not only was she a fiery speaker for the cause of abolition, but she was instrumental in finding homes for freed slaves in communities around the country. She was born in the Town of Esopus and lived there for the first 30 years of her life — enslaved until her walk to freedom in 1826. A committee is working to place a new memorial site in Port Ewen (see www.sojournertruthesopusmemorial.com).
Also, many African American soldiers from Ulster County fought in some of the most desperate battles of the Civil War. Members of the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry, are buried in a historic cemetery in Kingston; this spot, the Mt. Zion [African American Burial Ground], is being restored and will be rededicated in June. For more information, see www.kingstonlandtrust.org.
Anne M. Gordon,
Ulster County Historian