Listed on gravestone as Capt. George W. Quimby, Company D, 4th Regiment. He died on the second day of the Battle of Fredericksburg. He entered service as a 1st Lieutenant.
In the Caledonia Record on 12/14/2012, the following article was printed and submitted to me, Pamela Aune, by Anne Stowell.
Civil War Soldier Remembered at Christmas, on 150th Anniversary of Death
LYNDON CENTER -- A Civil War hero born in Lyndon, who died 150 years ago Thursday, was remembered and honored on the anniversary of his death, thanks to the efforts of a South Burlington mother and daughter.
Lyndon Town Clerk Dawn Dwyer said she received a phone call about a month ago from Mary Kenny, whose daughter, Kate, had become inspired to research Capt. George Washington Quimby's life after she purchased a photo of him a number of years ago.
The idea for a wreath to be laid this week marks an event 100 years ago on Capt. Quimby's grave - when two soldiers from the battle he died in who protected his body the night he died, had laid evergreen wreaths on his grave on the anniversary of their fallen captain's death.
In a news article printed on Christmas Day, 1912, in the News and Citizen, "Fallen Hero Remembered," was the headline of a story about the 50th anniversary of Capt. Quimby's death. It begins, with this subheadline, "Two Vermont Soldiers Who Carried Dead Captain From Battlefield Honor His Memory." The soldiers, William F. Stoddard and Luther B. Harris, the night Capt. Quimby was killed, "carried his body to the banks of the Rapahannock and stood guard over it that night, intending to send it home in some way. The next morning, the tide of battle was against the Union Army and to prevent the body from falling into the hands of the enemy, they buried it," the news clip of long ago recorded. "When the battle was over and they could do so, the two soldiers [Stoddard and Harris] took the remains up and sent them to Lyndon Center, where they were buried in the Dea. Thomas Quimby lot and a monument was erected thereon," the news account states. "Last Friday evening, Dec. 13 (1912), the two soldiers, who both live in Lyndon today, William F. Stoddard and Luther B. Harris, with Silas G. Colliston, who was with the company at that battle, went to the cemetery and laid evergreen wreaths at the head of the grave of their dead commander of fifty years ago."
The Kenny family, who had possession of this long ago photograph of Captain Quimby and had become touched by the story as they learned more about the devotion of his two fellow soldiers and their poignant act of laying wreaths in 1912 on Dec. 13, wished to have a holiday wreath placed on Capt. Quimby's grave on the 150th anniversary of his death, explained Dwyer. Mary Kenny, when she called the town offices, had asked Dwyer if she knew of a florist who could help with a wreath and inquired if the cemetery sexton could lay the wreath.
Dwyer put Kenny in touch with her sister-in-law, Lenore Dwyer, who owns A Daisy Daze, and Lenore ended up chatting with Kenny, as well, and said she got tears in her eyes hearing the story. Mary Kenny on Thursday explained how her family came to care so deeply for this long ago Civil War soldier who gave his country the ultimate sacrifice.
"It's all my daughter, actually, and she is an archaeologist at the University of Vermont and a great Vermont historian, and years ago, she bought an image of a young man who was a graduate of Dartmouth College and she knew that he was a Civil War soldier and she knew that he had been killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862...Time went by and she kind of put the image aside, and then she found a picture of him on the Internet in his uniform as a soldier and then she found the newspaper article," said Mary Kenny. Her daughter was touched by that poignant story, Mary Kenny said. "What a perfect way to honor this guy and his two friends who took such loving care of him after he was dead," by having a wreath laid 100 years later on the 150th anniversary of Capt. Quimby's death. "We have since done more research and one of the people who brought his body home to be buried at his parents' wishes, was Luther B. Harris. He was an interesting guy in his life after the Civil War, he was taken prisoner and taken to Andersonville," said Mary Kenny. "He and the guy who also helped bury [Quimby] was William Stoddard and they took care of him and brought his body back to his hometown," she said. "The guy, Harris, is the one who donated what they call the Puking Pig, in Lyndon. That's the same Luther B. Harris," she said. Another big piece of local history connects to Luther B. Harris, Kenny said, too. "The reason Theodore Vail came to Lyndon was all because of Harris. He met Harris when they were all doing work on the railroads," said Kenny.
The Kennys paid for the wreath, an evergreen wreath bedecked with other holiday greens, pine cones and red berries, a red bow and tiny golden ball ornaments, and Lenore Dwyer volunteered her time on Thursday to help her sister-in-law, the town clerk, find the grave and lay the wreath in a few moments of honor for the fallen soldier all these years later. They said they both were touched by the Kenny family's wishes and felt honored to be part of the laying of the wreath. Dawn Dwyer said the two soldiers who were so dear to Capt. Quimby ended up settling in Lyndon and are both laid to rest in the same cemetery.
"I just love helping people and being able to bring everything together," said Dawn Dwyer of this unusual task that fell in her lap at the holidays, her first holiday season as town clerk.
"To be able to do this at Christmas time on the anniversary of his death is really cool," said Dawn Dwyer of the meaningful request to honor the long ago soldier from here. She said the Kenny family intends to have succeeding generations place a wreath every 50 years on the soldier's grave.
According to records on Capt. George Washington Quimby, he was born in 1835 in Lyndon to Thomas Quimby and Delia (Gilman) Quimby. He was unmarried and did not have children. He was killed in action in Fredericksburg, Va., on Dec. 13, 1862, and was buried in the Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery in Lyndon Center. His family liked strong names for their sons, noted Mary Kenny, saying he had a brother named Thomas Jefferson Quimby and a third, Moses Quimby.
Capt. Quimby had served as headmaster at the Barton Academy in Barton prior to the war, and a portrait of him is in the collection of the American Legion in Barton. He served in Company D, 4th Vermont Infantry and was promoted to first lieutenant, records show. His brother Moses B. Quimby's diary from Jan. 21, 1863, reads, "Capt. George Washington Quimby is no more...How we wept for our dear friend layed low by the hound of treason."
Referring to her daughter's efforts, Mary Kenny said, "To me, it's just so touching that one person who found an old newspaper article had this welling up of emotion."
**Photos of the wreath laying can be seen below images of George W. Quimby's memorial.
son of Thomas & Delia
Co. D, 4th Reg. Killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg.