It’s a war that claimed the most American lives, but until this week, there wasn’t an encompassing memorial in Putnam County to honor the local men who fought in the Civil War.
With teenager Tyler Dicembrino leading the way, those veterans will now be remembered.
Over the past year, Dicembrino has been researching and fundraising for a Civil War memorial in honor of the veterans from Putnam that served in the gruesome war. Referring to the local archives, Dicembrino discovered that about 1,600 residents served in the war from the six towns in the county.
Now, a plaque that includes the names of those men and the town in which they lived is ready to be on display on July 16 at 11 a.m. with the unveiling ceremony taking place at Veterans Memorial Park in Kent. Dicembrino, who is a Carmel High School graduate, started this endeavor at the end of junior year and completed it by the time he wrapped up his senior year.
Dicembrino said while there are memorials remembering Putnam residents from almost every war the United States has been a part of, there is nothing to really commemorate those Civil War heroes. There is a memorial in Cold Spring, but that only includes a small portion of residents that fought from Putnam.
“There’s one thing that we’re missing and that’s any kind of remembrance to the Civil War,” Dicembrino, who is going to college this fall to study American history, said.
During his deep dive into Putnam’s connections to the Civil War, Dicembrino was surprised that so many men from the county fought.
“For back then, that was a lot,” he said.
There were also notable residents, including Major General Gouverneur Warren, who was one of the head engineers of the entire Union army and Major General Daniel Butterfield, who wrote the famous bungle-call for burials, Taps, Dicembrino said.
The plaque won’t indicate which residents died from battle, Dicembrino said, because some of the records have an unknown fate included so he didn’t want to accidentally skip someone who might’ve succumbed during the war.
Dicembrino originally had a further interest in the Revolutionary War, but it eventually transitioned to the Civil War after reading more about that bloody conflict. He got into American history by watching movies like The Patriot and Gettysburg.
Interested in war reenactment, he started participating with groups when he was 13 and continues that activity to this day.
The support from the veterans’ community in Putnam has been incredible, Dicembrino remarked and the reenactment community from the region has also been helpful raising funds for the plaque.
Veterans Service Agency director Karl Rohde, who helped Dicembrino find a location for the plaque, said Civil War veterans are largely forgotten today because the war happened so long ago.
“Anytime we recognize any veterans, we don’t want them to be forgotten so it’s just a good thing,” Rohde said.