Nearly 150 years after it was fought, the Civil War battle of Champion Hill, Miss., will be remembered in a ceremony at a small park 680 miles away in Huntington.
The public is invited to a candlelight “illumination” remembrance honoring all the men of Huntington County who took part in that long-ago battle will be held, beginning at dusk Wednesday, at Huntington's Slack Park. May 30 is the traditional date of Memorial Day. The event is presented by Huntington-based Champion Hill Camp 17 of the Indiana Department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Music by the Erie Band of Huntington will begin at 8:25 p.m. The band and the Huntington County Children's Choir will perform songs popular during the period of the Civil War. Gib Young, commander of Champion Hill Camp 17, will provide the welcome, and the program will feature induction of new members into Camp 17.
Young will offer remarks on the significance of the ceremony and of the lighting of candles that memorialize those who fought and died during our great Civil War as well as at Champion Hill, which was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863. Camp members Max Garwood and Robert Fettinger will read the roll of honor of the 17 county soldiers who were killed or mortally wounded on May 16, 1863. Four descendants of Huntington County soldiers who took part in that battle are expected to attend this event.
People who want to take part in the candle-lighting are asked to bring a fireplace lighter or long matchstick for that purpose. Lawn chairs and blankets are also recommended for spectators. Slack Park is located on the site formerly occupied by Huntington High School and Crestview Middle School, between Guilford and Byron streets north of John Street. There is on-street parking in the area.
Besides the Sons of Union Veterans, members of the 30th Indiana Civil War Reenactors, American Legion Post 85 Color Guard and Junior Girl Scout Troop 20469 will take part in the ceremony.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is an organization of men who can trace a family lineage to a member of the Union armed forces during the Civil War or have an interest in honoring those who served.