published Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Ohio students raising money for local civil war monument

  • photo
    A class of Ohio students plans on helping to restore the Ohio Reservation Civil War monument atop Missionary Ridge. The drummer boy's hand has been broken off and needs replacing.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

About the Ohio Monument:

Erected in 1903 by the Van Amringe Company, Boston

Obelisk shape, 45 feet tall

Four life-sized granite statues — Infantryman, Artilleryman, Cavalryman and Drummer Boy

Original cost: $30,000

Location: Ohio Reservation, Crest Road, Chattanooga

Source: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

For more information or to donate to Civil War monument restoration contact:

Friends of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

P.O. Box 748, Chattanooga, TN 37401

(423) 648-5623

www.friendsofchch.org

A few years ago, Derek Hinkle and his brother Doug were driving up Crest Road and couldn’t find a parking spot.

They knocked on Betsy Bramlett’s door and asked if she wouldn’t mind if they used her driveway for a bit so they could walk a few houses up and see the Ohio Reservation Monument to that state’s Civil War units who fought in battles here.

“I said, ‘well sure, park. And stop by on your way back,’” Bramlett told the brothers.

The brothers’ great-great-great-grandfather, Pvt. George Hinkle, had charged up the ridge with the 98th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and had two fingers on one of his hands blown off in the fighting.

Bramlett gave the Hinkles a bullet slug and Minié ball she’d found in her yard, relics from the Battle of Missionary Ridge.

They each sent her thank-you notes.

About a year ago Derek Hinkle called her up and said he’d like to stop by. He was taking his children on a trip through the area and wanted to show them the monument, too.

While they visited, Bramlett brought up a recent newspaper article about repairs to local Civil War monuments. The drummer boy on the Ohio monument had lost his right hand years before. She thought they might see how they could help.

Hinkle teaches fifth grade at Waggoner Road Middle School in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. He told his class about his family’s involvement in the Civil War as they retraced history for the 150th anniversary of major Civil War events.

The 26 children of Hinkle’s class decided they wanted to do something.

Bramlett and Hinkle contacted Patrice Glass, executive director of Friends of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, a local nonprofit.

Glass said the drummer boy repair offers the students an interesting perspective of the war.

“The drummer boys were always the youngest soldier,” Glass said. “There’s an age connection for students. Someone not much older than they are now off fighting in a war.”

Four years ago the nonprofit established the Jewell Memorial Restoration Fund, dedicated to restoring and maintaining park monuments and areas in need of repair, Glass said.

There’s a backlog of more than 100 projects expected to cost more than $10 million, Glass said.

Ahead of the local sesquicentennial in 2013 the organization was able to restore the Gen. William H. Lytle Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans, another Ohio-based group.

That monument’s restoration cost $64,000, which took three years to raise and complete, Glass said.

The Ohio monument costs less and the students want to reach their goal of $5,000 for repairs by March 15, Hinkle said.

The students have raised nearly half that amount in the past two weeks, Glass said. The nonprofit is accepting donations, which are tax deductible.

After that, the next goal for the students is to raise another $7,000 so they can travel together here for a re-dedication ceremony in May, Hinkle said.

The teacher said working to fix this statue, more than 475 miles away from their town, was a tangible way for students to pay homage to history and veterans.

“They’re able to see their work being applied,” Hinkle said. “They’re able to see that history matters.”

Shannon McCafferty, 10, is one of Hinkle’s students raising money for the repairs.

She said she and her classmates have missed a few days due to heavy snow over this past week but they’ve been able to reach out through phone calls and letters to Ohio businesses and veterans groups, she said.

Park historian Jim Ogden said the concept for a national military park here came from two Ohio veterans of the war in the late 1880s. Veterans groups convinced Congress to set aside the land. The majority of the Chickamauga battlefield was dedicated in 1895.

Areas on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge came later. The Ohio monument was dedicated in 1903. The New York Times reported that the governor of Ohio, himself a Civil War veteran, attended the ceremony.

Ogden said records show the monument was damaged in 1977 and again in 1981. The most recent repairs were made in 1985. The local military park maintains 1,400 markers, monuments and plaques.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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