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The Grave of a Forgotten Soldier

By Herman R. “Buck” Seibert, Jr.
Alexandria, Ky
(As published in the Fall/Winter edition of Northern Kentucky Heritage Magazine)

In a beautiful little out of the way valley in Northen Kentucky there lies a forgotten soldier. Surrounded by trees and beside a lovely stream lies the grave of William Monday. Few persons visit his grave other than a farmer herding his cattle or an occasional passing hunter or hiker. Although other graves are nearby, only his is marked with a headstone. He was most probably an ex slave who served his country in its most terrible war in the company of friends and relatives whose names and stories are lost in time.

The cemetery is located on a farm adjoining my own in Pendleton County, and after some difficulty, the locally fabled slave cemetery was found. The cemetery is just a series of piles of stones. Some stones are neatly stacked and other are helter skelter. On the edge of the cemetery nearest the stream, behind a fallen tree, is the resting place of William Monday. His stone is aged and moss covered and leaning slightly to the side. The inscription however is easy to read:

CO. D.
100 U.S.C.INF.

At first the “U.S.C.INF.”inscription was puzzling. Recalling the segregated nature of the military forces, it  became clear that “U.S.C. INF.” Meant United States Colored Infantry.

To investigage Mr. Monday’s story, his pension records were requested from the National Archives. After studying these documents, it appears that his last name was misspelled when his stone was engraved. The records show (or at least it is assumed) that the correct spelling was Monday.

William Monday was enlisted on May 23, 1864 by a Captain Berry at Covington, Kentucky. He next appears with the rank of Private on the Muster and Descriptive Roll of a detachment of U. S. Colored Recruits commanded by a Captain Mussey at Nashville, Tennessee, dated June 8, 1864, Louisville, Kentucky.

The record says he was in Penington, Kentucky (surely a corrupted spelling of Pendleton, the county in which the grave is located). He was 20 years old, occupation, farmer. He enlisted for three years. Height six feet, eyes, hair and complexion – black. He then appears on the records of Company D, 100th Regiment, US Colored Infantry in Nashville from September 1864 to December 1865.He next appears on the Company’s Muster-out Roll dated December 26, 1865. The record shows he owed the U. S. $1.44 for Ordinance in September and October 1864 and that he was charged 65 cents for a canteen and 65 cents for a haversack in May 1865. No explanation was given for these charges. The muster-out record indicated that he was last paid through April 30, 1865 and his clothing accoung was in arrears by $62.06!

The only mention of engagements involving the 100 U. S. Colored Infantry with the enemy was at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on September 3rd, 1864. Of course, there is no way of knowing if William Monday was involved. Murfreesboro was the location of numerous battles and skirmishes, the most important of which occurred from December 31 1862 to January 2, 1863 (Battle of Stones River).

Monday’s Pension Record shows that on August 20th, 1887 he appeared before the clerk of Pendleton County Court and applied for an Invalid Pension. The declaration states that he was 48 years of age and a resident of Falmouth, Kentucky. He states the he is the same William Monday who enrolled on the 20th of May 1864 in Company D of the 100th Regiment commanded by Captain Wright and was honorably discharged at Nashville, Tennessee December 28th, 1865. His personal description is given as 6 feet, one inch, complexion dark, hair black, eyes brown.

The following statement is verbatim from his service record:
"..while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Nashville, in the State of Tennissee (sic) on or about the 15th day of January, 1865, he had his rite foot frozen causing the flesh to rot under the Toes of the rite foot drawing leaders of his Toes and the ends of his Toes to Rot off and that he received a baynett (sic) wound in his left (leg) in the fight at Nashville nad the he contracted lung affection (sic) of the rite (sic) lung, is badly afflicted.. that he was never treated at any hospital while in the service.”

He went on to state that since leaving the service he had resided in the town of Falmouth, Kentucky and his occupation had been that of a laborer. That prior to his entry into the service he was a man of good sound physical health, being enrolled a farmer. That he was now half disabled from obtaining his subsitence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States. He appointed William I. Southgate of Falmouth, Kentucky, his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. The record does not state if a pension was granted.

On May 21, 1891, William Monday again submitted a Declaration for Invalid Pension under the Act of June 27, 1890. In this declaration he is again listed as 48 years of age and a resident of Falmouth. He stated that he was enrolled on the 21st day of May, 1864 in Company D, 100th Regiment of United States Colord(sic) Infantry Volunteers. Discharged on 26th day of December, 1865 at Nashville, he was now two-thirds unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of “Disease of his feet the result of being frozen whil (sic) in service and baynett (sic) wound of his left leg.>Rhumatism and disease of Breast and General Debilitation.” His application for pension was given No.l 620713.

A letter appears in the record from the Commissioner of S. E. Division, Department of the Interior to the Adjutant General, U. S. Army. It requests a full military and medical history of William Monday stating that the report from the Adjutant’s office dated July 24, 1888 with other papers having been lost, it became necessary to build the case up de novo. The letter goes on to state that on that account, the case is to be considered special.

Two general afficavits appear in the record to support William Monday’s request for a pension. One is from Peter Euwell, aged 47, a citizen of Cynthiana, Kentucky : “I was personally well acquainted with William Monday the Claim (Claimant) was a member of the same company. I was standing near the Claimant in the fight near Nashville, Tennessee in December 1864. I saw the wound in his leg and saw the blood running freely. I also saw the Claimant in January when his feet was frozen. One of his feet especially was very badly frozen. I think it was his right foot. He complained of misery in his breast and coughed violently at said times. I have known the Claimant from boyhood. He was a stout ablebodyed (sic) man when he entered the Service. I was present and know the facts from personal knowledge..”

The second affidavit is from Aaron Bradford, aged 54, a citizen of Falmouth, Kentucky: “ This Afficant Aaron Bradford states that he has known Willaim Monday at least 40 years. And he and William Monday enlisted together in the same Company. And when he enlisted he was sound able bodyed man. When in the Fight at Nashville, Tennessee he received a baynett (sic) Wound in on (sic) of his legs. I am not certain not but to the best of my recollection it was his left leg. He also had his feet frozen while in the Service and line of his duty. My means of knowing this fact is I was a private in the same company and know these facts from personal knowledge., I have also known him every (sic) since our discharge from the army and that he complained of the baynett wound and also his frozen feet. He is often laid up and unable to work on account of his Injuries ever since his Discharge from the Army..”

Bradford further declared that affadavit was written in his presence and from his oral statement and in making the same he did not use and was not aided by written or printed statement or recital prepared or dictated by any other person or persons.

>Another form was submitted to the Department of the Interior dated December 1st 1897. It stated that William Monday is married – his wife was Susan Monday, maiden name Susan Ramey. They were married August 11th, 1886 by Rev. John Henderson at Falmouth, Kentucky. William stated that he was never previously married and had no children and never did have any.

William Monday died on August 12, 1899. Susan filed a claim for Widow’s Pension. She stated therein that William died of apoplexy, paralysis and general debilitation. She stated that neither she nor William owned any real or personal property except for a few household goods or furniture worth not more than fifteen or tweny dollars. She was destitute or without means of support except for her own manual labor. Her rent was $4 a month. She had no prior marriages and had no children. Apparently Susan was granted a pension of $8 a month. She was removed from the pension roll on April 20, 1901 because of death. The pension record does not state the date of her death. A shallow depression in the ground near the headstone of William Monday no doubt marks the resting place of Susan Monday. She has no stone to mark her grave.

History has not recorded any great or brave deed attributable to this man. He did indeed serve his country when the need arose and he no doubt spent his remaining years in lingering pain as a result of that service. No children or grandchildren remained to celebrate his memory or mourn his passing. He now rest peacefully in the beautiful, quiet little valley with the small creek running through it in the hills of Pendleton County. {end of publication]

New notes as of 3 Sept 2002. GPS coordinates are 38 degrees 38.04 North and 84 degrees 21.54 West for the grave. I found at least 23 other unmarked field stones standing on end within 100 feet of the Munday grave. Many depressions in the earth and many flat field stones that appear to have been knocked over. Cattle are now using the area and stones are being pushed over. In one area the animals have actually used the area around two of the stones as a dust wallow.