Grave Marking Ceremony For Confederate Seaman Duncan At Montrose Cemetery

The members of the Mobile Council – Navy League of the United States, honored officers and crew of USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and other sea service guests are cordially invited to attend a grave marking ceremony for Confederate Seaman James Duncan in Montrose Cemetery, U.S. 98, Montrose, AL, at  1400 hrs sharp, Sunday, September 4th.

Seaman Duncan was a crew member of the blockade runner CSS Florida when it ran the Union blockade of Mobile Bay on September 4, 1862, 154 years ago this Sunday. Seaman Duncan was Captain of the Top Foremast. The CSS Florida took heavy Union cannon fire and Seaman Duncan died in the line of duty when he was decapitated by a cannon ball.

The CSS Florida had been in the Caribbean Sea and had docked in Cuba where many of the crew were stricken with Yellow Fever. Arriving off Fort Morgan, the master decided to run the Union blockade so his crew could receive much needed medical treatment in Mobile.

After successfully running the Union blockade, the CSS Florida was ordered to anchor in Mobile Bay off Montrose as it was under Yellow Fever quarantine and could not dock in Mobile. The community of Montrose allowed the dead to be removed for burial in Montrose Cemetery.

Among those on board who had died of Yellow Fever was Lieutenant John Stribling who was the son of a Union Navy Rear Admiral. Following the Civil War, Lt. Stribing’s family erected a wrought iron fence around their son’s grave and placed a nice headstone in his memory.

However, Seaman Duncan’s grave close by was only identified by a small stone inscribed with “The Grave Of A Seaman.” Seaman Duncan’s grave would have to wait for another 154 years before members of the Fort Blakeley Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans identified who had been buried there and resolved to place a proper headstone honoring his service.

Fort Blakeley Camp members raised funds for the headstone, arranged to have it placed on Seaman Duncan’s nearly forgotten grave and organized a ceremony to memorialize him on the same day 154 years after he was killed in the line of duty.

Ceremony details are as follows:

  • Welcoming Remarks
  • Posting Of the Colors By Honor Guard Of Civil War Reenactors
  • Invocation By Chaplain
  • Seaman Duncan’s Story
  • Revealing His Headstone
  • Singing Navy Hymn
  • Roll Call  of Honor for CSA Veterans Buried In Montrose Cemetery
  • TAPS
  • Canon And Rifle Salutes By Civil War Reenactors
  • Libation Ceremony
  • Folding Of The Confederate Flag
  • Canon And Rifle Salutes By Civil War Reenactors
  • Retiring The Colors
  • Benediction
  • Closing Remarks

Dress code is Sunday casual. Montrose Cemetery is a private family cemetery and guests are requested to act respectfully. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to welcoming remarks. There are no restroom facilities. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages to keep hydrated in summer heat. Do not leave any empty plastic beverage bottles or other trash behind following the ceremony   

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