Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Civil War Hero Gets His Union Due"

OK, all you intrepid Civil War bloggers, get on this and provide the details. What did Connelly do that merited his award? Inquiring minds want to know:
In an unmarked grave in a Queens cemetery lies a Civil War soldier whose amazing tale of bravery will finally be honored tomorrow with a proper headstone.

Roderick Connelly was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage in US troops' assault on Fort Fisher, NC, in 1865 - a battle that led to the capture of the South's last open port.

The headstone will be unveiled at a ceremony tomorrow at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside.

Connelly, who records say was born in England in 1841, signed up for the Marines in Philadelphia in 1863.

He was among 3,300 Union troops who stormed Fort Fisher on Jan. 15, 1865. While many of his comrades were killed or wounded or fled in fear against a Confederate artillery counterassault, he stayed with his force as Union troops captured the fort.

After the war, Connelly lived with his wife and family at 332 E. 22nd St., worked as a varnisher and died in 1889.

Nobody knows why he was buried in an unmarked grave, but a researcher from the Midwest alerted the New York chapter of the Marine Corps League.

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