The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 8, 2012

Memorial service honors Confederate soldier

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Sports Writer

CLINTON — George N. Forsee was 25 years old when he enlisted in the Confederate army.

For nearly three years, he fought almost daily in Virginia, avoiding death on the battlefield multiple times.

Today, the Kentucky native rests under a shady tree in Clinton's Springdale cemetery.

Forsee is the only known Confederate soldier buried in Clinton County.

His service for the Confederacy and legacy were honored on Saturday morning by a group of more than 25 people at a memorial service held by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.    

“It is our charge to preserve the heritage,” SCV Iowa Division Commander Richard Pohorsky said during the ceremony as he was dressed in confederate garb.

SCV member Terry Dumerauf read the details of Forsee’s life.

George Nicholas Forsee was born Aug. 12, 1837 in Gallatin County, Ky. When the war broke out George was 24 years old.

He came from a farming family, spending much of his time caring for his widowed mother and two invalid sisters.

On Sept 10, 1862, he enlisted in 4th Kentucky Calvary Co. F., C.S.A. under General Braxton Bragg and Colonel Henry M. Gietner.

He brought his own horse, weapons and clothing. The cavalry fought in the Eastern Tennessee Campaign and in the army of Northern Virginia at Blue Springs, Rheatown, Henderson Mills and Big Creek. In 1863 at Chattanooga, the group fought at lookout Mount Wilderness, Missionary Ridge and the battle of Chickamauga.

In the spring of 1864, George went to northern Virginia and was under General John H. Morgan. Shortly after, George was hospitalized from Jan. 3-26 at Crockett’s Farm. George and company also fought under General J.E.B Stuart in the battles of Mount Sterling, Saltville and Cynthiana. For a time he was in running battles daily.

At the Battle of Cynthiana, one bullet was lodged into his pocket Bible he carried in his breast pocket.

The regiment was involved in 43 engagements and numerous skirmishes. The last battle in which the regiment was engaged was at Marion, Va. The cavalry surrendered to General Hobson at Mount Sterling, Ken., on April 30, 1865 and George was paroled May 10, 1865 and allowed to return to his home.  George and his wife Sally lived in Ghent, Ky., until the spring of 1889 when his health began to fail. They then moved to Clinton, where he lived eight years. At the age of 61, George died of a sudden heart attack on Oct. 24, 1897.

Forsee’s distant cousin Brenda Forsee-Wills, of Indianapolis, William Forsee, Omaha, who was accompanied by his wife, Carol, attended the memorial ceremony.

“It’s about the family history and recognition,” William said.

After the honorary cross and rose were placed on Forsee’s grave, William presented a special gift to his distant cousin, soil from Kentucky, which he spread across Forsee’s grave.

The ceremony concluded with the rifle volley salute, dedication and benediction.

“We do this so their story is not lost, to remember the history and the reasons they fought,” Pohorsky said.