“That roll was made and completed in days of old, it was written with the red blood from human hearts, its letters are more bright and more precious than were they writ in the purest gold and they were indelibly burned on the pages of life. Therefore, we who are assembled here today and members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, gather at this memorial in sacred memory of our forefathers and their sacrifices.”
“To quote from the epitaph from another time and place “Tell them of us and say, For their tomorrows we gave our today.”- From the address by Past Commander in Chief Perie L. Fouch at the last Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1949.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, a handful of community members stood amidst a field of graves at the New Richmond City Cemetery and watched solemnly as Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War completed a sacred military rite and with it wrote the final chapter in the life of Private Alonzo Rouse Kibbe, the last Veteran of the Civil War to be buried in St. Croix County.
Memorials Officer Andrew Willenbring formally relieved Private Kibbe of his post.
“As all the veterans here gathered are aware, a soldier cannot leave his post without being properly relieved. Private Alonzo Kibbe, you are now relieved. I have the post. Rest in peace.”
With that members the honor guard manned by veterans of New Richmond American Legion Butler-Harmon Post 80, placed a wreath of remembrance on Kibbe’s grave marker and removed the protective cover of a specially designed bronze marker honoring him as the last Civil War soldier to be buried in St. Croix County.
Three volleys in honor of the fallen shattered the silence followed by a single bugle’s rendering of Taps and a chapter from history more than 150 years old was closed.
Mr. Douglas Urbanski, commander of Col. Willliam Colvill Camp 56 of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War began the ceremony by briefly recounting Kibbe's military service.
“Alonzo Kibbe was born in New York in 1844. A the age of 17 Alonzo Kibbe enlisted for Civil War service at Janesville, WI, on 15 August, 1862. He served as a private with the 12th Wisconsin Light Artillery Battery. Kibbe was wounded in the right shoulder and left arm at Savannah on 15 December 1864. “We had four guns and the rebels had seven,” he once recalled. He was the gunner on the No. 1 gun. He gave orders to run the gun up to the gun line. There was one man pushing against one wheel and two men pushing against another. Kibbe started over to help the one man when a rebel shell exploded nearby. He was thrown to the ground bloody and unconscious. His fellow soldiers though he was dead. He did survive and was discharged from the service six months later on 20 May 1865,” Urbanski read aloud.
Kibbe died on Oct. 22, 1943, at the age of 99. He was buried in the New Richmond Cemetery next to his wife, Emma. To read more about Kibbe's life, go to: https:National-Sons-of-Union-Veterans-of-the-Civil-War-to-honor-veteran-buried-in-New-Richmond.
The ceremony Saturday was the result of a collaborative effort between the LaVonne McCombie and Wayne Haut of the St. Croix County Historical Society, the Wisconsin commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Doug Ubanski, the Minnesota commander and Bev Peirson, executive director of the New Richmond Heritage Center.
The New Richmond Heritage Center has extensive information available on Kibbe.
The center welcomes donations of Civil War artifacts and documents. Peirson noted that the center is seeking donations to help fund the creation of a research library to enable people to do research on their own. More information, visit nrheritagecenter.org.