8:24 PM July 20, 2022
The London branch of the US Civil War Veterans Association is trying to raise £3,000 to honor all British citizens who served in the war.
“We have identified nearly 500 American veterans, primarily those who served on the Union side, buried in the UK,” said Gina Denham, who is spearheading fundraising efforts.
Gina has set up a JustGiving Campaign Fund for Islington Memorial and St Pancras Cemetery, of which £1,573 has already been raised by 40 supporters.
She added: “Our goal is to shed light on their service and, if possible, to obtain the headstones they are entitled to.”
Gina’s great-great-grandfather, George Denham, enlisted in the American Civil War in 1856 and fought on the Union side.
Her legacy has since inspired Gina to be part of #TheMonumentalProject.
“Beneath our soil are the men and women who once helped bring about the outcome of the American Civil War, which is why this matters. I’m pretty passionate about it,” Gina said.
The face of the memorial will depict three figures: a white soldier, a black soldier and a female soldier to reflect the diversity of the Union Army.
Stuart Stefany is a US based artist who is sculpting the memorial for #TheMonumentalProject.
He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and has experience sculpting medals and monuments for the Sons of Union Veterans organization in the United States.
“To me, this memorial is important because art is an enduring form of communication that transcends both time and the limits of language,” Stuart said.
“A good monument, like Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial or Daniel Chester French’s Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, serves two purposes: it commemorates those who have passed, but it also allows the spirits of those who see it .
“That’s our goal on a much smaller scale.”
A dedication ceremony will also take place this Saturday at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery for James O’Neil, a British soldier who fought in the Civil War.
“He was a human being who died in the field of conflict,” Gina said. “I think thanking them for their service with a little act of remembrance makes sense.”