Monee: Honoring His Memory ‘Up to Us’

Rachel White, above, St. Paul Cemetery Board member, unveils the headstone honoring one of Monee’s Civil War veterans, Philip Bohlander, whose grave had gone unmarked. Below: the new marker, courtesy of the efforts of the Sauk Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the St. Paul Cemetery Board. (Photos by Karen Haave)
Rachel White, above, St. Paul Cemetery Board member, unveils the headstone honoring one of Monee’s Civil War veterans, Philip Bohlander, whose grave had gone unmarked. Below: the new marker, courtesy of the efforts of the Sauk Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the St. Paul Cemetery Board. (Photos by Karen Haave)

By Karen Haave

A new headstone honors one of Monee’s Civil War veterans, courtesy of efforts of the Sauk Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the St. Paul Cemetery Board.

The monument honoring the military service of Philip Bohlander has been installed at St. Paul Cemetery. Bohlander’s grave had gone unmarked until the DAR and cemetery board sought the headstone provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

Rachel White, cemetery board member, unveiled the headstone during a recent ceremony at St. Paul Cemetery.

“Philip Peter Bohlander, the youngest child of Johann Philip Bohlander and Margaretha Marie Young, was born February 5, 1843, in Hoeringen, Germany,” White said. “He emigrated with this family sometime between 1843 and 1850.”

The family lived in York Township, DuPage County, where they had a farm until 1860, when they moved to Frankfort.

“At the time of his enlistment, he was an unmarried 18-year-old working as a merchant in Monee,” White continued. “He was 5’ 6” tall, with dark hair and gray eyes.

“Philip enlisted on August 15, 1862, in Joliet, joining the 100th Illinois Infantry, Company K, under Captain David Kelly. Apparently Captain Kelly observed his immediate camaraderie among his peers and his natural leadership, as he was mustered in as corporal on August 30, 1862.

“He left Camp Erwin in Joliet on September 2, 1862, for Louisville, Kentucky with his regiment to begin his tour of duty.

“He survived every battle and campaign seen by Company K. During the Cumberland Campaign, he saw the famous battles of Perryville, Kentucky; Stones River, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee and Chickamauga, Georgia.

“At Stones River (he wrote), ‘…the sun rose clear and beautiful upon the last day of 1862. Alas, it proved to be the last day to many a soldier on either side. The cannons of both sides dueled over the heads of the 100th IL for hours, the men hugging the earth so closely that everyone wished to become a worm’.

“At the Battle of Chickamauga, Philip survived one of the most awful U.S. losses wherein the 100th IL lost nearly 70 percent of their force–severely wounded, captured or killed,” White said.

“During this time, he was promoted to sergeant. Following the Cumberland Campaign and garrison at Murfreesboro, his unit saw the Battles of Resaca, Kenesaw, Jonesboro, Franklin and Nashville.

“He died March 29, 1865, in a military hospital in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, along the Mississippi River and the border with Missouri. The cause of his death is unknown. He was just two months and 15 days short of completing his tour of duty to his country.

“His brother Peter purchased a burial space for him at St. Paul Cemetery, on the extreme west side, along the current parking lot,” White added.

“As with so many like him, being unmarried at death, it seems he leaves no direct descendants to keep and honor his memory. That is now up to us.”

Dedicating the new headstone, White said, “To all who pause in this place, may this marker make effective the voice of the memorial. May it remind us of those whose service to country and heroic sacrifices aided and advanced the cause of independence.”

Unveiling the marker, she said, “Nothing is really ended until it is forgotten. Whatever is kept in memory still endures. Therefore, we dedicate this marker in grateful recognition of Philip Bohlander. May this marker help to keep alive what is special of this history.”

The 100th Illinois Volunteer Infantry gave a musket salute.

In welcome remarks, DAR Regent Nancy Shlaes thanked those attending, including Christi Holston, president of the Monee Historical Society, DAR Chaplain Candy Paris-Rush, and the 100th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, who served as Color Guard for the event.

The Bohlander marker is the second that has been installed at St. Paul Cemetery. The first was for Civil War Veteran Francis Lafayette, obtained from the Veterans Administration and dedicated in 2021.

Karen Haave is a freelance reporter.

Nancy Shlaes, Regent for the Sauk Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, speaks during the recent ceremony honoring the new gravestone for Philip Bohlander of Monee, who died in the Civil War. Looking on is DAR Chaplain Candy Paris-Rush. (Photo by Karen Haave)

 

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