Grave Marker Dedication

George Nelson Elsea
Sheldon Cemetery, Soddy Daisy, TN
Saturday Morning, November 14, 2009

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 SUVMRC63 Main Page      Photos    Meetings Posted November 15, 2009 
Missionary Ridge Camp #63 was invited by relatives of George Nelson Elsea to dedicate the new grave marker for this Civil War veteran. This write-up was provided to the Camp:

George Nelson Elsea
Born: October 18, 1845
Washington County, Tennessee
Died: September 28, 1920
Hamilton County, Tennessee

The Elseas are an Irish Family that made their way to Sullivan County in its early days, then moved on to Sale Creek in the 1840’s. George’s father, John was described as a “large man with an Irish temper”.

In the Civil War, the Elseas favored the Union and were neighbors of the Orson Shipleys in Sullivan County. The families moved together to Hamilton County. George enlisted with the 7th Pennsylvania U.S. Calvary, Co. M on August 23, 1863, at Smith’s Crossroads (today, known as Dayton), Tennessee. He served under General Judson Kilpatrick. He enlisted as a private and served until he was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the 4th Tennessee U. S. Calvary, Company I January 10, 1864. On April 15, 1864, George was promoted to Sergeant. George was believed to have served in every campaign his Company was involved in to include Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and all of the battles of the Atlanta campaign.

Fannie & George Elsea
Date of photo unknown
After the war, he was mustered out with his unit on the 13th of August, 1865 in Nashville Tennessee. He returned to Hamilton County where he married Fannie Reevely December 26, 1865. There they raised 9 children. George died September 28, 1920 at the age of 74. He is buried in Shelton Cemetery, Sale Creek, Tennessee.

A nice size crowd of fifty people attended the day's event.
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Camp 63 At left, Jeff Hightower calls the group to order to begin the ceremony. He thanked family members for the opportunity to remember George Elsea and his service to the nation. He also talked about the military actions that George Elsea experienced while in both the 7th Pennsylvania and the 4th Tennessee regiments; and, he mentioned the loyality to the Union by many East Tennesseeans.

Below, George Elsea would be most familiar with the rifle, canteen and haversack shown here resting on the family headstone. These items kept the common soldier alive throughout the war.
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Camp Commander Mark Kemp tells relatives and friends about the daily life of a Civil War soldier. Here, he shows the familiar tin cup that was used by soldiers of both the North and South. He also discussed the various uses of other camp utensils including the typical tin plate and even the bayonet. Camp 63 Below right, Charlie Engle reads from a book about the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Charlie's great-grandfather was a member of this same unit that George Elsea joined in 1863. Although the two were in different companies, Charlie speculated that the two soldiers may not have known each other by name, but most likely would have seen each other from time to time.
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Camp 63 Above, members of Camp 63 fire three volleys to honor Sergeant Elsea.
At left, David Holcomb plays taps following the volley salute.
Below, the new grave marker lists George's Civil War unit.
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Following the ceremony, our Camp takes a moment to pose for posterity. Many family members expressed their thanks to the Camp for helping to honor their ancestor today.
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The Camp takes a moment to hold a regular meeting during which officers for the coming year were nominated. Future events were discussed including the next meeting date and the Camp's involvement in the upcoming Department of Tennessee Encampment in Chattanooga in late January.
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