CROWN POINT — The Wilderness Battlefield cannons have been silenced for more than 145 years, but the ideals Sgt. Alfred Covell Woods fought for reverberate today.
Woods was honored Sunday at a veterans' ceremony held at the First Congregational Church to commemorate the service and sacrifice he and Crown Point area residents made during the Civil War.
After the ceremony, the procession headed to the church's historic cemetery so that Woods, who was killed in action in 1864, could receive a veteran's graveside marker in his family's plot. Members of the New York National Guard Military Forces Honor Guard joined Civil War re-enactors, veterans' organizations and the community to dedicate the memorial marker for the fallen Civil War soldier.
Among the activities in the cemetery were cannon and rifle salutes.
'long ago forgotten'
According to Pastor David Hirtle, a New York state historian was doing a walk-through at local cemeteries and came across a familiar name, that of Woods. Upon doing some research, the historian decided to petition the Veterans Affairs office to honor Woods.
"We did genealogy on his close relatives and determined they had at one time moved back to Iowa," Hirtle said. "I am just amazed at how rich in Civil War history we are in Crown Point, and the pride the local residents have in this."
"This is a day to remember someone who was long ago forgotten in the confusion of war," Hirtle said at Sunday's service. "We are righting a wrong. Woods was a local man and a hero who went to war to preserve the rights we have. I'm humbled by the presence of so many units here to honor him today."
Crown Point Supervisor Bethany Kosmider presented a plaque on behalf of the Essex County Board of Supervisors that will be housed at the Penfield Museum.
In her remarks, Kosmider said Woods "bravely, valiantly and selflessly fought."
"This is an area rich in history," Tim Pierce, an Essex County veterans agent, said. "What amazes me is the number of citizens who have served in this sparsely populated area.
"This comes at a cost; both physically and mentally. There's a higher cost of war, and we're here to honor a soldier who paid this higher price. For Sgt. Woods, duty called. We also need to take time to recognize all of you who have served."
"All that have raised their hand and stepped forward, I thank you," Hirtle said. "This is a week this nation needs to be proud of those who served so that the young can be free."
The poignant ceremony concluded with a roll call by Lt. Pete Gilbert, who called the names of local Civil War soldiers who paid the ultimate price for war.
The respondents answered: "Deceased."
E-mail Alvin Reiner at: