Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Bravery not buried in the past

Black Civil War soldiers honored locally for military service

April 6, 2001


Dressed in a blue Civil War uniform, Jimmy Johnson saluted the grave of his great-grandfather and then placed a wreath against its tombstone at Clinton Cemetery.

"I'm very proud," Johnson said afterward, referring to his ancestor, an escaped slave named George Washington.

Washington and two others, who were once members of the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment and are buried at the cemetery, were honored in September during the Underground Railroad Tour sponsored by the Clinton Lake Historical Society.

The First Kansas Colored Infantry fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War. Johnson, of Kansas City, Mo., is among the members of a First Kansas Colored re-enactor's group, tracing the footsteps of his great-grandfather.

After the war, Washington settled in the Clinton area and raised a family.

"He probably did more to improve race relations after the Civil War than anyone else," Johnson said.

Johnson and another re-enactor also placed wreaths on the graves of Eliab G. Macy, a surgeon with the unit, and his son, Eberly L. Macy.

Thomas Johnson, also a great-grandson of Washington, played "Taps" at all three graves.

The cemetery visit was one of several stops in the daylong bus tour.

Included was a visit to the Clinton Lake Museum for a Civil War dinner and a performance by a re-enactor portraying abolitionist John Brown.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.