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Unmarked grave of Civil War veteran who fought at Shiloh, among other battles, gets memorial plaque

Austin Daily Herald - 5/22/2024

May 22—Charles W. Bump's remains have been in Oakwood Cemetery for over a century, but visitors to the cemetery will now know who he was.

Bump, who served in the Civil War, previously had an unmarked grave, but when the Mower County Veteran Services Office became aware of the unmarked grave, they managed to secure a veteran's memorial plaque from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Austin VFW paid for the stone and mounting. On Wednesday, Bump was honored in front of some of his surviving family members.

Amongst the family was his great-granddaughter, Marlene Hemann, who lives in Austin. Hemann has known for decades that Bump's grave was unmarked and she was happy to see him honored, just a few days before Memorial Day.

"This has always been a blank area, and I always wanted to get this done, but I never really had the time," Hemann said. "This is a recognition that was long due. I feel great that he is recognized and people will see that he served in the Civil War."

Bump was a private in H company of the 16th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment from Oct. 10, 1861 to July 12, 1865. The 16th Wisconsin Volunteers fought in the Battle of Shiloh, Siege of Corinth, Battle of Corinth, Battles of Atlanta, Battle of Jonesborough, Sherman's March to the Sea and the Battle of Bentonville.

Hemann never met her great grandfather, but she heard that he was quite the storyteller and that he walked with a limp from a gunshot wound he suffered during the war. His pension was a dollar per month.

"My aunt Stella told me that he was a storyteller. He would tell stories about the war, but no one believed him because he was such a storyteller," Hemann said.

Hemann received a flag for the ceremony and that flag was delivered by PFC Stella Streich. Streich is the daughter of Mower County Veteran Services Officer Rod Streich. Stella also sang the National Anthem at the ceremony.

"This is a really fun event. I've learned a lot about history. People care so much even so many years after someone passed," Stella said. "It's amazing that they did all of this research and put this whole event together. It shows a lot of compassion for veterans and soldiers of our past."

Stella grew up on a dairy farm in West Concord and she drove truck for the National Guard after enlisting. She now serves as a recruiter in Faribault.

With Memorial Day approaching, she said it is important to remember those, like Bump, who served in the past.

"Throughout my entire childhood, I've had a strong sense that I wanted to enlist and serve this great country," Stella said. "Without our service men and women, we wouldn't have the freedoms that we have today."

Hemann has researched a lot of history on Bump and she discovered that he had eight children with his first wife Amanda Jane Leonard, and when she passed away, he married Estella Alice Hunt, who had two children of her own.

"They had a commingled family and they lived in Windom Township, just north of Rose Creek," Hemann said.

Hemann has also traced her family's roots all the way back to King Philip's War in the 17th Century, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Vietnam War.

Bump was born on April 13, 1841 and died on Nov. 12, 1926.


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