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Highgate Cemetery salutes British Hero of American Civil War

Highgate Cemetery salutes a forgotten British hero of the American Civil War

07 October 2010
U.S. Embassy's Assistant Army Attache Lieutenant Colonel Wallace salutes the headstone of Londoner Thomas Barzetti (photo Nigel Sutton)

U.S. Embassy's Assistant Army Attache Lieutenant Colonel Wallace salutes the headstone of Londoner Thomas Barzetti (photo Nigel Sutton)

On Monday, 20th September 2010, at a special grave-side ceremony in Highgate Cemetery, a senior military officer from the U.S. Embassy honored the memory of a young Londoner, Thomas Barzetti, who sailed to America to fight for the Union side in the American Civil War.  Barzetti had travelled in secret to the USA and enlisted under a false name to hide his involvement from his family.

At mid-day, Lt Colonel John Wallace, Assistant Military Attache at the U.S. Embassy, laid a wreath in memory of Barzetti as well as the more than 600,000 soldiers who died in the conflict. Barzetti took part in many battles but was severely wounded at the second battle of Bull Run in 1863. Discharged from service, he returned to London where he died, aged 78, in 1914. A stars and stripes American flag was laid by the graveside as part of the ceremony, and will later form part of a special display at the cemetery.

The date was exactly one hundred years to the day of the founding of the London Branch of American Civil War Veterans. It is estimated that perhaps more than one thousand British men travelled to the USA and took part in the tragic conflict.

Lt Col Wallace and other guests also visited the grave of Samuel Lucas, owner and proprietor of the London Morning Star, a major daily newspaper of the time which was alone in supporting the Union cause.

Also buried at Highgate is Richard Booth, half-brother of John Wilkes Booth – the assassin of President Lincoln.

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