The Press Newspaper
Passers-by may have thought the Confederate Army had been reformed and was using Willow Cemetery in Oregon as a staging area.
General Robert E. Lee, as portrayed by Chuck Eberle, of Van Wert, O., and 15 local “confederates” conducted a ceremony May 16 at the grave of John E. Moser, the only known veteran of the Confederate Army buried at the cemetery, to replace a marker noting his service.
The ceremony included a 21-gun salute and the firing of two canons as Eberle placed a Confederate States of America marker next to Moser’s tombstone. Age and weather had deteriorated a previous marker.
Eberle, a descendant of General Lee, had noticed the broken marker during a visit to the cemetery last year while attending the OregonFest celebration. He organized the replacement ceremony.
Moser is believed to have served in the Army of Virginia as a member of an
artillery battery and moved to Indiana after the war. He moved to Oregon to be near his son. According to his grave marker he died in 1925.
Eberle has appeared at the Oregon festival the past two years as part of a Civil War living history encampment. He travels to states east of the Mississippi River giving presentations on General Lee.
“It was the right thing to do,” he said of replacing Moser’s grave marker. “John Moser was an American soldier who fought for something he believed in. Moser didn’t fight for fame or fortune. I often walk through cemeteries and straighten the flag holder markers for all veterans, not just Confederates. Every American citizen owes a debt of thanks to every American soldier, living and dead. They were who we are.”
He plans to return to OregonFest next year and to bring his horse, Traveller.
He said residents attending the festival ask interesting questions.